Human RightsNorth America

Retired US generals: Guantanamo ‘symbol of torture’

334781_GuantanamoThirty-eight retired generals and admirals in the US have called on the Senate to close the notorious US-run Guantanamo prison describing it as “a symbol of torture.”

In a letter to all US senators on Nov. 13, the day the notorious military prison reached its 12th anniversary, the retired admirals and generals said it is “imperative” for US Congress to address the issue of shutting down Guantanamo.

“Guantanamo is a betrayal of American values. The prison is a symbol of torture and justice delayed,” the letter reads.

The prison complex was established by the Bush administration in 2001 and has been used by the US military since then.

The majority of Guantanamo prisoners have been held for over a decade without a charge.

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.

However, twelve years after the opening of Guantanamo, the notorious US military prison is still open with no end in sight to the detentions without charge or trial.

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 Guantanamo hunger strikers amounted to torture, but said she did not have the jurisdiction to stop the practice.

Moreover, the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said last month that there was “systematic violation of human rights” at Guantanamo, calling on the US government to explain the alleged abuses, especially the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike.

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