US Senate approves terrorism interrogation bill

WASHINGTON - The US Senate has given final approval to a bill for tough interrogations and prosecutions of terrorism suspects.

The Senate passed the bill 65-34, hours after Bush was on Capitol Hill urging Republicans to stay behind the high-profile measure ahead of November 7 elections that will determine control of Congress.

The House of Representatives passed the same measure on Wednesday and must make a technical change to reconcile it with the Senate's. Bush was expected to sign it soon afterwards.

While the bill cleared the Senate by a comfortable margin, it barely survived a challenge earlier in the day that would have delayed it and possibly killed it.

The bill sets standards for interrogating suspects, but through a complex set of rules that human rights groups said could allow harsh techniques that border on torture such as sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia.

It establishes military tribunals that would give defendants access to classified evidence being used to convict them, and allow limited use of evidence obtained by coercion. The bill also expands the definition of "enemy combatants" to include those who provide weapons, money and other support to terrorist groups.

- REUTERS

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