The United States tortures prisoners, former President Carter charged on Wednesday.
"I don't think it. I know it," Carter told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview.
"Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights," Carter said. "We've said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we've said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime to which they are accused."
Carter also criticized President Bush's recent declaration: "This government does not torture people."
"That's not an accurate statement if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored -- certainly in the last 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated," Carter charged.
"But you can make your own definition of human rights and say we don't violate them, and you can make your own definition of torture and say we don't violate them," Carter added.
Commenting on the Carter remarks, a senior White House official said, "Our position is clear. We don't torture. It's just sad to hear a former president speak like that."
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