Amnesty calls for Guantanamo closure

Amnesty International has renewed its call for the United States to close its Guantanamo Bay detention facility and try or release the prisoners held there.

    Some 500 terror-suspects are being held in Guantanamo

    "The US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is condemning thousands across the world to a life of suffering, torment and stigmatisation," the London-based rights group said on Monday in a statement accompanying a new report.

     

    "Five hundred men from around 35 nationalities are detained in Guantanamo. Dozens are currently on hunger strike and there have been numerous suicide attempts.

     

    "None of them have had the lawfulness of their detention reviewed in a court of law."

     

    Amnesty Americas Programme Director Susan Lee said: "Despite widespread international condemnation, the US authorities continue in their attempts to strip all detainees of their right to challenge their detention in US courts."

     

    The rights group demanded that the US administration publish a list of all "war on terror" detainees being held at Guantanamo and elsewhere, and try or release the prisoners.

     

    Citing complaints from inmates of mistreatment and abuse, Amnesty also appealed to Washington to "close Guantanamo and open up all US detention facilities to independent scrutiny", and to investigate allegations of torture.

     

    Force-feeding 

    Amnesty said the force-feeding of inmates on hunger strike, if it was done in a way that deliberately caused suffering, could constitute "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".

     

    The report quoted one inmate, Fawzi al-Odah, describing how he was force-fed through a nasal tube.

     

    "The nurse shoved a tube up my nose so quickly that I began choking, bleeding from the nose and spitting blood. They used no anaesthetic," he was quoted as saying.

     

    Amnesty also said the families of detainees were not being given basic information about their loved ones.

     

    Many of those prisoners who had been released or transferred from Guantanamo had faced "continued harassment, arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment" in other places.

     

    Court order


    A US federal judge last month ordered the government to release the identities of hundreds of Guantanamo detainees, rejecting arguments that this might put their families in danger. The government is expected to appeal.

     

    US President George Bush insisted last month that the prisoners were being treated "humanely".

     

    "Guantanamo is a necessary part of protecting the American people. And so long as the war on terror goes on, and so long as there's a threat, we will inevitably need to hold people that would do ourselves harm," he said. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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