[News] UN: Close down Guantanamo prison
News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 16 08:57:58 EST 2006
UN: Close down Guantanamo prison
Thursday 16 February 2006 12:18 PM GMT
The US should bring all prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay to an
independent trial or release them, the United Nations has said in a report.
The 54-page report, summarising an investigation by five UN experts,
on Thursday called on the US government "to close down the Guantanamo
Bay detention centre and to refrain from any practice amounting to
torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."
But the US ambassador to UN offices in Geneva, Kevin Moley, responded
that the investigation had taken little account of evidence provided
by the United States, and that the five UN experts rejected an
invitation to visit Guantanamo.
In a response that was included at the end of the report, Moley said:
"It is particularly unfortunate that the special rapporteurs rejected
the invitation and that their unedited report does not reflect the
direct, personal knowledge that this visit would have provided."
A preliminary version of the report was leaked earlier this week
before it included the US comment.
The US is currently holding about 490 men at the US military
detention centre on the southeastern tip of Cuba.
The detainees are accused of having links to Afghanistan's ousted
Taliban regime or al-Qaida, though only a handful have been charged
since the mission opened in January 2001.
The five UN experts who authored the report had sought invitations
from the US to visit Guantanamo Bay since 2002. Three were invited
last year, but refused in November after being told they could not
Only the International Committee of the Red Cross has been allowed to
visit Guantanamo's detainees, but the organisation keeps its findings
confidential, reporting them solely to the detaining power.
Some reports have been leaked by what the organisation calls third parties.
The UN report's findings, which were being made public, were based on
interviews with former detainees, public documents, media reports,
lawyers and a questionnaire filled out by the US government.
The treatment of detainees during transport and the use of violence
when they resisted amounted to torture, the UN report said.
Although the investigators did not visit Guantanamo, they said
photographic evidence - corroborated by testimony of former prisoners
- showed that detainees were shackled, chained, hooded and forced to
wear earphones and goggles.
They said prisoners were beaten, stripped and force shaved if they resisted.
The report said: "Such treatment amounts to torture, as it inflicts
severe pain or suffering on the victims for the purpose of
intimidation and/or punishment."
Some of the interrogation techniques used at the detention facility
itself - particularly the use of dogs, exposure to extreme
temperatures, sleep deprivation for several consecutive days and
prolonged isolation - caused extreme suffering, the report said.
The simultaneous use of such methods was "even more likely to amount
to torture," it said.
It also concluded that the particular status of Guantanamo Bay under
the international lease agreement between the US and Cuba did not
limit Washington's obligations under international human rights law
toward those detained there.
Many of the allegations have been made before, but the document
represented the first inquiry launched by the 53-nation UN Human
Rights Commission, the global body's top rights watchdog.
The group of UN investigators included Leila Zerrougui, an expert on
arbitrary detention; Leandro Despouy, expert on judicial
independence; Manfred Nowak, expert on torture; Asma Jahangir, an
expert on freedom of religion; and Paul Hunt, expert on physical and
The five were appointed by the commission to the three-year project.
They worked independently, with expenses covered but received no
payment from the UN.
The five come from Argentina, Austria, New Zealand, Algeria and Pakistan.
The US, which is a member of the commission, has criticised the body
itself for including members from countries with poor human rights records.
You can find this article at:
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News