U.S.| Obama administration urged to renew pledge to close Guantanamo, ensure accountability

posted on 01.21.2010 by

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Obama pledging to close Guantanamo Bay, human rights watchdogs have urged the administration to redouble its efforts to close the prison and ensure accountability for “war on terror” abuses.

From the Human Rights Watch press release: [...] “President Obama made Guantanamo one of his signature issues when he pledged on his second day in office to close the detention facility within a year,” said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Although he is missing that deadline, the administration should intensify its efforts to responsibly repatriate or prosecute those held and shut the prison as soon as possible.”


While speeding the closure of Guantanamo, moving detainees to the United States for continued detention without charge would merely be bringing Guantanamo’s fundamental failing to the US mainland, Human Rights Watch said. [...]

More here.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International criticized the administration for continuing “to look the other way on ‘war on terror’ abuses”. The group’s 20 Jan press release notes:

[A] year into the new administration, almost 200 individuals remain detained without fair trial at the Guantánamo prison camp, and accountability and remedy for the human rights violations committed against these and other detainees in what the USA previously called the “war on terror” remain more myth than reality.


The impunity goes well beyond abuses in the CIA programme. Shortly before President Obama took office, for example, the Bush administration’s Convening Authority for military commissions confirmed that Saudi Arabian national Mohamed al Qahtani had been tortured in military custody at Guantánamo. Despite this admission, a year later, with Mohamed al Qahtani still held without charge in Guantánamo, no criminal investigation is known to have been opened into the torture allegations.

Earlier this month, a US federal judge found “credible” the allegations that Yemeni national Musa’ab al Madhwani had been subjected to acts amounting to torture and other ill-treatment in a secret US facility in Kabul before his transfer to Guantánamo where he remains detained without charge more than seven years later.

What accountability will there be for this abuse? None, it would seem, unless the current administration has a rethink about whether accountability and adherence to the USA’s international human rights obligations will truly be among its governing principles. [...]

More here.


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