Amnesty International Urges the Bush Administration to Release or Provide Fair Trials to All Remaining Guantanamo Detainees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2008
11:51 AM

CONTACT: Amnesty International
AIUSA media office 202-544-0200 x302

 
Amnesty International Urges the Bush Administration to Release or Provide Fair Trials to All Remaining Guantanamo Detainees
Human Rights Organization to Launch Guantanamo Cell Replica National Tour on May 8 in Miami
 

WASHINGTON, DC - May 2 - As nine more detainees were freed from the U.S.-controlled detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Amnesty International today reiterated that these detentions are a travesty of justice. The Bush administration must either bring to fair trial or release, with full protections against further abuse, the 270 detainees still held there.

The nine men were the first to be released from the naval base this year. Among them is Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al Hajj, held without charge at the facility for almost six years. Amnesty International remains particularly concerned for his health and well-being after his years of indefinite detention and other alleged abuses, including in the context of his prolonged hunger strike.

Sami al Hajj was repatriated with two other Sudanese nationals held at Guantanamo, Yacoub al-Amir and Walid Ali. Sami al Hajj was taken straight from the plane to hospital on a stretcher.

A fourth detainee, Saļd Boujaādia, was returned to Morocco, where he is reported to have been taken into custody by the judicial police in Casablanca. Amnesty International will continue to monitor his situation and calls on the Moroccan authorities to ensure that his treatment fully complies with international law. He should be given access to legal counsel and independent medical care, and either charged promptly with recognizable criminal offenses and brought to fair trial, or released.

Five detainees were also transferred to Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon. The organization has no further details on these detainees at this stage. It similarly calls on the Afghan authorities to ensure that all treatment and any trials of returned detainees fully comply with international law and standards, and in no way perpetuates the unlawful treatment that the Guantanamo detainees have faced.

"The U.S. government should abandon its trials by military commissions, which are not independent of the same branch of government that has authorized and condoned abuses against detainees and which may rely on information coerced under ill-treatment," said Amnesty International.

As well as denying those held at Guantanamo and elsewhere the right to challenge their detentions in an independent and impartial court, in line with the centuries old right to habeas corpus, the U.S. authorities have subjected detainees to treatment and conditions that violate the absolute prohibition on torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Investigations into such abuses have been inadequate.

In Miami, Amnesty International will launch its national tour of a life-size Guantanamo prison cell replica. The public will have the opportunity to experience the cell and continue to push the Bush administration to shut down the U.S.-controlled detention facility in Guantnamo Bay, Cuba. The cell replica will travel around the country, including stops in Philadelphia, Portland, Maine and Washington, DC.

"The U.S. government must permanently close the Guantanamo detention facility, and put an end to the secret detention program operated by the CIA. The United States must bring all its detentions everywhere into full compliance with international law and standards," said Amnesty International. "There must be full accountability for all human rights violations, including the international crimes of torture and enforced disappearance."

For more information about Amnesty International's cell tour or its work on Guantanamo, please go to www.amnestyusa.org or contact the AIUSA media office at 202.544.0200 x302.

###