U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens [Updated January 16, 2007] [open pdf - 147KB]
"The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires signatory parties to take measures to end torture within their territorial jurisdictions. For purposes of the Convention, torture is defined as an extreme form of cruel and inhuman punishment committed under the color of law. The Convention allows for no circumstances or emergencies where torture could be permitted. Additionally, CAT Article 3 requires that no state party expel, return, or extradite a person to another country where there are substantial grounds to believe he would be subjected to torture. CAT Article 3 does not prohibit persons from being removed to countries where they would face cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment not rising to the level of torture. […] CAT obligations concerning alien removal have additional implications in cases of criminal and other deportable aliens. The Supreme Court's ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis suggests that certain aliens receiving protection under CAT cannot be indefinitely detained, raising the possibility that certain otherwise-deportable aliens could be released into the United States if CAT protections make their removal impossible. CAT obligations also have implications for the practice of 'extraordinary renditions,' by which the U.S. purportedly has transferred aliens suspected of terrorist activity to countries that possibly employ torture as a means of interrogation."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32276