Magazine article The Middle East

The Guantanamo Nightmare

Magazine article The Middle East

The Guantanamo Nightmare

Article excerpt

ALMOST 550 DETAINEES OF MORE THAN 30 nationalities are still being held by the American authorities at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba more than three years after the first orange-suited and manacled 'enemy combatants' were incarcerated there. Although over the long months numbers have been whittled down from more than 600 three years ago, for the majority of the men that remain in Camp X-ray there is little hope of a trial or a release date as things stand.

The US defence department has announced a new investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at the detention centre where it seems, FBI officials had expressed concerns over prisoner mistreatment as long ago as 2002.

FBI memos detailing abuses--some dating back to shortly after the Abu Ghraib scandal surfaced in May 2004--were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the freedom of information act.

One agent described prisoners shackled hand and foot, in a foetal position for up to 24 hours at a time, without food or drink and left to urinate and defecate on themselves. Another account, sent to FBI director Robert Mueller, described strangulation, beatings and the insertion of lit cigarettes into detainees' ears.

Some of the memos were written in response to a senior FBI official who asked agents to tell him if they had personally witnessed "aggressive treatment" in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal.

The Pentagon insists that Camp X-ray prisoners are treated humanely, but has promised to investigate all credible allegations of abuse. …

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