Human RightsNorth America

Commission finds ‘systematic’ abuse at Guantanamo

331898_GuantanamoThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says there has been “systematic violation of human rights” at the notorious US-run Guantanamo prison in Cuba.

“The information we have indicates that there was a general and systematic violation of human rights” at Guantanamo, said Rodrigo Escobar Gil, one of the seven commissioners at the Washington-based body.

The commission also called on the US government to explain the alleged abuses, especially the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike.

Protesting harsh conditions and indefinite detention without charge or trial, Guantanamo prisoners began a hunger strike in early February, which US authorities say ended in late September.

Images from the detention center published in June showed how prisoners were force fed by military guards, being strapped to a metal restraint chair and fed through the nose with plastic tubing.

In July, a federal judge ruled that the practice of force-feeding the Guantanamo hunger strikers amounted to torture, but said she did not have the jurisdiction to stop the practice.

Escobar Gil, who described force-feeding at Guantanamo as “cruel and inhumane treatment,” said the IACHR’s requests for visits to the prison complex without pre-conditions have all been rejected by US authorities.

“We have reports of torture and degrading treatment. But all our requests for visits without conditions have been denied. We want to know when they are going to allow visits without pre-conditions,” he said.

Shutting down Guantanamo was a central theme of Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 as he acknowledged that the detention camp was a symbol of the US government’s violation of human rights.

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