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U.S. rapped for detainee treatment

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 12 (UPI) -- A U.N. official said he was concerned about Washington's restrictions on visits to the U.S. Army soldier suspected of giving information to WikiLeaks.

Juan Mendez, appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council as the special envoy on torture, expressed frustration over attempts to gain unrestricted access to Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, suspected of delivering a trove of classified U.S. information to the WikiLeaks Web site.

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"The United States, as a world leader, is a strong supporter of the international human rights system," said Mendez in a statement. "Therefore, its actions must seek to set the pace in good practices that enhance the role of human rights mechanisms, ensuring and maintaining unfettered access to detainees during enquiries."

Mendez had asked Washington last year for permission to visit detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay but hasn't received an answer. His predecessor, Manfred Nowak, said he couldn't accept restrictions on Guantanamo visits imposed by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2004.

Human Rights Watch in a report published Tuesday accused Bush and members of his Cabinet of sanctioning the torture of terrorism suspects, acts the group says are war crimes.

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Human Rights Water Executive Director Kenneth Roth called on U.S. President Barack Obama to do more to investigate the previous administration.

"The United States has a legal obligation to investigate these crimes," Roth said in a statement. "If the United States doesn't act on them, other countries should."

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