Guantanamo conditions worsening

Conditions for detainees at the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay are deteriorating, with the majority held in solitary confinement, a report says.

Amnesty International said the often harsh and inhumane conditions at the camp were “pushing people to the edge”.

It called for the facility to be closed and for plans for “unfair” military commission trials to be abandoned.

Many of the 385 inmates have been held for five years or more, unable to mount a legal challenge to their detention.

“While the United States has an obligation to protect its citizens… that does not relieve the United States from its responsibilities to comply with human rights,” the report said.


America vs. Human Rights

“The United States has long regarded itself as a beacon of human rights, as evidenced by an enlightened constitution, judicial independence, and a civil society grounded in strong traditions of free speech and press freedom. But the reality is more complex; for decades, civil rights and civil liberties groups have exposed constitutional violations and challenged abusive policies and practices. In recent years, as well, international human rights monitors have documented serious gaps in U.S. protections of the human rights of vulnerable groups. Both federal and state governments have nonetheless resisted applying to the U.S. the standards that, rightly, the U.S. applies elsewhere.”
Human Rights Watch

“Statements by the Bush administration that these men are ‘enemy combatants,’ ‘terrorists’ or ‘very bad people’ do not justify the complete lack of due process rights,” the group said.

Amnesty reiterated its call for detainees at the prison camp in Cuba – many of whom are suspected Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters – to be released or charged and sent to trial.

‘Serving justice’

The provision that stripped detainees of their right to mount a legal challenge to their confinement was upheld by a US federal appeals court in Washington in February.

Pushing the anti-terror legislation through Congress last year, Mr Bush said he needed the new law to bring terror suspects to justice.

It allows for the indefinite detention of people as “enemy combatants”.

The US has said it plans to use the military tribunal system to prosecute about 80 of 385 prisoners remaining at the camp.

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BBC, UK
Apr. 4, 2007
news.bbc.co.uk

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This post was last updated: Apr. 4, 2007