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Situations at Guantánamo Are Merciless and Inhuman, U.N. Investigation Finds


The final 30 detainees at Guantánamo Bay, together with the lads accused of plotting the Sept. 11 assaults, are being held by america beneath circumstances that represent “merciless, inhuman and degrading remedy beneath worldwide legislation,” a United Nations Human Rights investigator mentioned on Monday.

Fionnuala Ni Aolain, a legislation professor in Minnesota serving as particular rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, included the discovering in a report drawn from a four-day visit to the jail in February, which included conferences with an undisclosed variety of detainees and interviews with attorneys and former prisoners. She issued the report one month earlier than her time period as rapporteur ends.

She particularly cited the cumulative results of insufficient well being care, solitary confinement, restraints and use of power to take away prisoners from their cells as contributing to her conclusions. She mentioned the situations on the jail “can also meet the authorized threshold for torture.”

Ms. Aolain was the primary United Nations investigator to be granted entry to the detention heart in its two-decade historical past. She mentioned in an interview that she met with a cross part of the 34 prisoners who have been there in February, together with former C.I.A. detainees who’re going through felony prices and others who’ve been authorized for switch to different nations. Right now, 30 remain.

As a part of her mandate, Ms. Aolain additionally met with households of the victims of terrorism.

The report referred to as the assaults on Sept. 11, 2001, “a criminal offense towards humanity.” However Ms. Aolain pointedly referred to as america and its use of torture on the lads now going through felony prices at Guantánamo Bay “the only most important barrier to fulfilling victims’ rights to justice and accountability.”

The torture, she mentioned, “was a betrayal of the rights of victims” of the 9/11 assaults.

In response, the Biden administration released a one-page defense of the detention operation saying that present detainees on the Pentagon jail “dwell communally and put together meals collectively; obtain specialised medical and psychiatric care; are given full entry to authorized counsel; and talk usually with relations.”

The report highlighted the case of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, a former aide to Osama bin Laden who’s serving a life sentence “in isolation, elevating severe issues of solitary confinement in contravention of worldwide legislation.” The jail intends to place him close to different detainees 4 hours a day, the report mentioned, however could not adhere to that plan.

Ms. Aolain supplied the most recent in mounting international criticism of well being care supplied to the detainees, notably the inadequacy of amenities on the base to deal with “an ageing, susceptible inhabitants” and the absence of “complete holistic torture rehabilitation.”

She urged america to ascertain an unbiased, civilian well being care program for prisoners who have been tortured by america.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 4 different prisoners accused of plotting the Sept. 11 assaults are making a similar demand in negotiations that have been initiated greater than a 12 months in the past by prosecutors, who proposed that the lads would plead responsible in change for all times in jail, somewhat than face a demise penalty trial.

Ms. Aolain mentioned detainees have everlasting disabilities, traumatic mind accidents, power ache — together with joint, gastrointestinal and urinary points — in addition to untreated post-traumatic stress dysfunction. She blamed torture and rendition packages for a few of the medical points. She attributed a few of them to long-term detention, starvation hanging and compelled feeding at Guantánamo Bay.

Ms. Aolain’s go to was the primary identified go to to the jail infrastructure by an unbiased observer for the reason that detention heart’s employees dismantled media relations in April 2019.

Till this 12 months, successive U.S. administrations had given solely the Purple Cross and protection attorneys entry to the ability and to speak to the prisoners. The Biden administration supplied the rapporteur a go to as a part of an initiative to extra actively have interaction with U.N. human rights investigative our bodies.

The report criticized america for failing to offer trauma remedy and make sure the rights of the greater than 700 former Guantánamo prisoners. Most have been repatriated though some, principally Yemenis, have been despatched to different nations for resettlement.

She described the launched prisoners as stigmatized by their detention, in some circumstances disadvantaged of fundamental human rights and requiring reparations. She additionally urged reparations for the present detainees and victims of terrorism, notably the youngsters of Sept. 11 victims, saying they need to be permitted to pursue monetary, instructional and trauma assist as treatments {that a} surviving mother or father could have waived.

The White Home didn’t subject a response to Ms. Aolain’s remarks on Monday. However President Biden released a statement noting that it was the Worldwide Day in Help of Victims of Torture and declaring america’ “opposition to all types of inhumane remedy and our dedication to eliminating torture and aiding torture survivors as they heal and of their quests for justice.”

Mr. Biden criticized torture in Russia, Syria and North Korea, including, “I name on all nations world wide to hitch me in supporting rehabilitation and justice for torture survivors and in taking motion to remove torture and inhumane remedy for good.”

Ms. Aolain, nevertheless, pointedly argued that america had an obligation to handle its legacy of torture. “There is no such thing as a statute for limitations on torture,” she mentioned. “Those that perpetrated it, engaged in it, hid it … stay chargeable for the whole lot of their lives.”

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