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UN Committee To Question U.S. Over Torture Claims

U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (AFP) May 5, 2006 -- The United States is set to face hard questions from a United Nations panel today over its compliance with the global ban on torture.

The UN Committee Against Torture, the global body's watchdog for a 22-year-old treaty forbidding prisoner abuse, will quiz U.S. officials in Geneva on issues ranging from Washington's interpretation of the absolute ban on torture to its interrogation methods in prisons such as Abu Ghurayb and Guantanamo Bay.

The committee of 10 independent experts is demanding that the United States explain why it reportedly established secret prisons, what rules and methods of interrogation it employs, and whether the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush assumes responsibility for alleged acts of torture committed by American agents outside U.S. territory.

In a report filed to the panel in January, Washington said it is "unequivocally opposed" to torture.