The US has released previously secret memos from the Bush era specifying that harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding did not constitute torture.
At the same time, President Barack Obama has guaranteed that no CIA employees will be prosecuted for their role in the interrogation programme. The four memos date back to 2002 and 2005 and gave legal support for the combined use of various techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and putting insects in with prisoners in tightly confined spaces. The memos were released in response to a freedom of information request by the civil rights group the American Civil Liberties Union. Critics of the Bush administration’s interrogation programme say the memos are evidence that the methods used by interrogators amounted to torture under US and international law. During his first week in office, President Obama officially outlawed harsh interrogation techniques used on prisoners of the United States’ War on Terror at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba.