Monday, February 13, 2006

Report: U.S. Is Abusing Captives

Los Angeles Times reports A draft United Nations report on the detainees at Guantanamo Bay concludes that the U.S. treatment of them violates their rights to physical and mental health and, in some cases, constitutes torture. It also urges the United States to close the military prison in Cuba and bring the captives to trial on U.S. territory, charging that Washington's justification for the continued detention is a distortion of international law. The report, compiled by five U.N. envoys who interviewed former prisoners,

who certainly told the truth
detainees' lawyers and families,
who probably do not even know the truth
and U.S. officials,
whose statements were probably disregarded.
is the product of an 18-month investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The team did not have access to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
They probably should have been given access.
Nonetheless, its findings — notably a conclusion that the violent force-feeding of hunger strikers, incidents of excessive violence used in transporting prisoners and combinations of interrogation techniques "must be assessed as amounting to torture" — are likely to stoke U.S. and international criticism of the prison....

The draft report, reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, has not been officially released. U.N. officials are in the process of incorporating comments and clarifications from the U.S. government.
But rather than wait for the official report, the Times is printing the draft, since it contains items that may not be in the final report.
In November, the Bush administration offered the U.N. team the same tour of the prison given to journalists and members of Congress, but refused the envoys access to prisoners. Because of that, the U.N. group declined the visit.
So they were not denied access to Gitmo, they just declined to see for themselves because they were not going to be able to interact with prisoners, and possibly pass on information from them.
.... Nowak said that the U.N. team was "particularly concerned" about the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes that detainees said were brutally inserted and removed, causing intense pain, bleeding and vomiting. "It remains a current phenomenon," Nowak said. International Red Cross guidelines state: "Doctors should never be party to actual coercive feeding. Such actions can be considered a form of torture and under no circumstances should doctors participate in them on the pretext of saving the hunger striker's life."
Would they prefer that we
  • Let them die? As I understand it, suicide is prohibited in the Koran
  • Should the medical procedure of inserting a feeding tube be performed by non-medically trained people

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