U.N. says Guantanamo prison is illegal

Feb. 13, 2006 at 8:08 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The United States is violating prisoners' rights at its military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a U.N. draft report published Monday said.

The report, obtained by The Los Angeles Times, was compiled by five U.N. envoys who interviewed former prisoners, detainees' lawyers and families, and U.S. officials in the past 18 months as part of an investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

Not yet released, the report says the U.S. government is violating about 500 inmates' rights to physical and mental health, and called for them to be returned to U.S. soil for trial.

"We very, very carefully considered all of the arguments posed by the U.S. government," said Manfred Nowak, one of the envoys. "There are no conclusions that are easily drawn. But we concluded that the situation in several areas violates international law and conventions on human rights and torture."

In November, the Bush administration offered the team the same tour of the prison given to journalists and members of Congress, but refused the envoys access to prisoners. Because of that, the U.N. group declined the visit.

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