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Guantanamo: Calls for closure as US may shelve closure

22-06-2007

Amnesty International:

Reacting to reports that the US administration has postponed a meeting regarding the future of the detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, including the possibility of its closure, Amnesty International said today:

"Yesterday's cancelled meeting about the future of the detention centre at Guantánamo Bay should be rescheduled as a matter of priority. Every day that this prison camp remains open is a day too many."

"It is more than a year since President Bush first said he would like to close Guantánamo.

“While there are undoubtedly challenges to closing the facility, the solution in principle is simple, and the government must turn its energies to this end.

“It should either charge the detainees with recognisable criminal offences and bring them to trial in the ordinary civilian courts, or it should release them with full protections against further abuses.

“Other governments should do all they can to bring an end to this human rights scandal and actively consider accepting released detainees."

Amnesty International has consistently described the detention centre as a “travesty of justice” and called for its immediate closure.

Some 380 detainees are still held at the isolated prison camp, many for over five years. Earlier this year the organisation published a report showing that 80% of detainees are being held in solitary confinement, often in harsh and inhumane conditions.

Detainees include at least eight long-term residents of the UK.

Amnesty International is calling on the UK government to offer assurances that it is pushing for the fair trial or release of these men and, in the case of one man - Jamil el-Banna - who has reportedly been “cleared for release” by the US authorities, Amnesty International is calling on the government to clarify whether he will be allowed to return to his family in Britain.

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