16 February 2006

UN report calls for Guantanamo closure


16 February 2006 12:22

The United Nations has published its report on the United States detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and said the facility has undermined international law.

The document charges that the US treatment of detainees violated their rights to physical and mental health and in some cases amounted to torture.

About 500 people are currently imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay many of whom were detained in Afghanistan more than four years ago.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Novak, says the US should give all inmates a proper trial or free them and close down the camp.

The authors of the report also call for the prosecution of US officials who may have been involved in torture.

The United States has already responded to leaks from the report, rejecting the findings as 'baseless assertions' and pointing out that its authors had never visited the prison.

Ahead of the report's publication, the most senior UN human rights official said there was little alternative to closing the detention camp.

Louise Arbor, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, said some of the inmates there had been held for so long that even a greater involvement from the US judicial system in their cases would not be enough to undo the damage.

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