[News] Guantanamo Tactics 'Tantamount to Torture'

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Tue Nov 30 08:49:10 EST 2004

Guantanamo Tactics 'Tantamount to Torture'
NY Times
Tue Nov 30, 2004 06:13 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross has 
accused the U.S. military of using tactics "tantamount to torture" on 
prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, the New York Times 
reported on Tuesday.

An ICRC inspection team that spent most of June at Guantanamo Bay reported 
the use of psychological and sometimes physical coercion on the prisoners, 
the newspaper said.

It said it had recently obtained a memorandum that quoted the report in 
detail and listed its major findings.

More than 500 people are being held at the U.S. base in Cuba, detained 
during the 2001 U.S. war to oust al Qaeda and the ruling Taliban from 
Afghanistan and in other operations in the U.S. war against terror.

The Times said the U.S. government and military officials received the ICRC 
report in July and rejected its findings.

Asked by the Times about the report, a Pentagon spokesman said in a 
statement: "The United States operates a safe, humane and professional 
detention operation at Guantanamo that is providing valuable information in 
the war on terrorism."

The Times said the Red Cross investigators had found a system devised to 
break the will of prisoners through "humiliating acts, solitary 
confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions."

"The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production 
of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of 
cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the Times 
quoted the report as saying.

Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, the committee's delegate-general for Europe and 
the Americas, told the newspaper the ICRC could not comment on the report 
submitted to the U.S. government.

The ICRC has agreed to keep its findings confidential.

Human rights groups and lawyers have criticized the United States for 
holding prisoners at the base indefinitely and most without charges or 
legal representation.

The U.S. government has taken the position that the detainees are "enemy 
combatants" and not entitled to the protections normally given to prisoners 
of war.

It has begun a process of holding individual trials, called tribunals, for 
each prisoner to determine their status.

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