UN Calls Shock Treatment at Mass. School 'Torture'

Nowak said that when he finished reading Rosenthal's report, he sent an urgent appeal to the U.S. government, urging an investigation into the school.

"This is torture,'' said Nowak. "Of course here they might say, but this is for a good purpose because it is for medical treatment. But even for a good purpose -- because the same is to get from a terrorist information about a future attack, is a good purpose. To get from a criminal a confession is a good purpose.

To Rosenthal, there are two factors for the Obama administration to consider; the United States' international treaty obligations on torture, and President Obama's own reputation. "President Obama has staked his international reputation on ending torture and the world is now looking,'' said Rosenthal. "Are we gonna live up to our obligations and is President Obama gonna live up to his promise to end torture by the United States government?"

The issue is clear, says Nowak: "You cannot balance this. The prohibition of torture is absolute."

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