Thursday, February 16, 2006
The United States must close its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay because it is effectively a torture camp where prisoners have no access to justice, a U.N. report released Thursday concluded.
The White House rejected the recommendation.
The 54-page report summarizing an investigation by five U.N. experts accused the United States of practices that "amount to torture" and demanded detainees be allowed a fair trial or freed. The investigators did not visit the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"Those people should be released or brought before an independent court," Manfred Nowak, the U.N. investigator for torture, told The Associated Press. "That should not be done in Guantanamo Bay, but before ordinary U.S. courts, or courts in their countries of origin or perhaps an international tribunal."
The United States should allow "a full and independent investigation" at Guantanamo and also give the United Nations access to other detention centers, including secret ones, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Nowak said by telephone from his office in Vienna, Austria.
"We want to have all information about secret places of detention because whenever there is a secret place of detention, there is also a higher risk that people are subjected to torture," he said.