WASHINGTON, May 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --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, Said Boujaadia, 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
Guantanamo 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
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.
SOURCE Amnesty International