Amnesty: Gitmo Conditions Worsening

Conditions in the US detention facility in Guantanamo are worsening with the sweeping majority of detainees being held in cruel isolation, Amnesty International said in a new reported issued.

Amnesty: Gitmo Conditions Worsening

Conditions in the US detention facility in Guantanamo are worsening with the sweepingmajority of detainees being held in cruel isolation, Amnesty International saidin a new reported issued on Thursday, April 5.

"It appears that detainees are being placed inextreme lock-down conditions not because of their individual behavior butbecause of harsher camp operating procedures," reads the report posted onAmnesty's website.

"A new facility that opened in December 2006, knownas Camp Six, has created even harsher and apparently more permanent conditionsof extreme isolation and sensory deprivation."

The report, "USA:Cruel and inhuman – Conditions of isolation for detainees in Guant?namo Bay",says 165 detainees have since been transferred to the new facility.

It notes that a further 100 detainees are being heldin solitary confinement in Camp 5, another maximum security facility.

Twenty others are being held in solitary confinementin Camp Echo, where conditions have been describedby the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as "extremelyharsh."

"Detainees are confined for 22 hours a day toindividual, enclosed, steel cells where they are almost completely cut off fromhuman contact.

"The cells have no windows to the outside oraccess to natural light or fresh air," said the international watchdog.

"In some respects, they appear more severe thanthe most restrictive levels of "super-maximum" custody on the US mainland,which have been criticized by international bodies as incompatible with humanrights treaties and standards."

Washington has been holding hundreds of detainees, mostly arrested in Afghanistan, atthe top security detention facility since 2001.

Amnesty has branded Guantanamo the new gulag prisons, the Sovietdetention centers notorious for torturing political prisoners and suspects.

Travesty  

Kate Allen, Amnesty's UK director, described conditionsat the US Navy-run facility as "a travesty of justice".

"With many prisoners already in despair atbeing held in indefinite detention... some are dangerously close to full-blownmental and physical breakdown," Allen told the BBC News Online.

"The US authorities should immediately stoppushing people to the edge with extreme isolation techniques and allow properaccess for independent medical experts and human rights groups."

Amnesty accused the Bush administration of using thecloak of national security to justify human rights violations.

"Perhaps President Bush needs to think again,because the voices calling for the closure of this disgrace to American valuesare only getting louder," said Larry Cox, the executive director ofAmnesty International USA.

The group urged the Bush administration to takeimmediate steps to alleviate the harsh conditions at the detention facility.

"Such steps include ensuring that no detaineeis subjected to prolonged solitary confinement in conditions of reduced sensorystimulation," it said.

Detainee should also be allowed more association andactivities as well as regular contact with their families with opportunitiesfor phone calls and visits.

"While the United States has an obligation to protect its citizens... thatdoes not relieve the United States from its responsibilities to complywith human rights."

Click to read the Report

 

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