A major international human rights watchdog has strongly condemned the U.S. government for what it calls a "deliberate" policy of mistreating terror suspects, and it says the abuse cannot be blamed on a few low-ranking soldiers.
New York-based Human Rights Watch Wednesday released its annual report on global human rights abuses. The report says the sanctioning of torture and other abuses by the Bush administration in its war on terrorism has hurt the cause of human rights around the world and has damaged U.S. credibility.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan rejected the reports' conclusions, saying they appear to be based more on a political agenda than facts. He said the United States does more than any other country to advance freedom and promote human rights.
Human Rights Watch called on President Bush to appoint a special prosecutor to examine the abuses of detainees during interrogation.
The report also accuses Canada of trying to dilute a new treaty outlawing enforced disappearances, and it accuses Britain of sending terror suspects to countries likely to torture them.
Human Rights Watch also faults a number of countries, including Russia, China and Uzbekistan, for using the war on terrorism to attack their political opponents.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.