December 2, 2011 / 6:04 AM / 9 years ago

Arrest Bush during Africa trip: Amnesty Int'l

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush arrive at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital to see the government efforts in the prevention of transmission of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam December 1st, 2011. REUTERS/Emmanuel Kwitema

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amnesty International called on Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia on Thursday to arrest former U.S. President George W. Bush for human rights violations when he visits Africa this month.

As president from 2001 to 2009, Bush authorized the use of water boarding and other interrogation techniques that Amnesty and other human rights groups consider torture.

“International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed,” Matt Pollard, senior legal adviser, said in a statement.

In February, rights groups said Bush canceled a visit to Switzerland because of the threat of legal action against him for alleged torture. Organizers of that event said they were canceling Bush’s participation on security grounds, not because of the criminal complaints.

Bush has defended the use of water boarding - which simulates the sensation of drowning - on captured extremists as key to preventing a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The U.S. Department of State had no immediate comment.

Bush is expected to visit Africa this week to raise awareness about cancer in the region, Amnesty said.

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