Tuesday, June 07, 2005

COM: Unabashedly my hero

Carter Says U.S. Should Close Detention Center at Guantánamo
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 8, 2005


ATLANTA, June 7 (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter called on the United States on Tuesday to shut down its prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to demonstrate the country's commitment to protecting human rights.

"Despite President George W. Bush's bold reminder that America is determined to promote freedom and democracy around the world, the U.S. continues to suffer terrible embarrassment and a blow to our reputation as a champion of human rights because of reports concerning abuses of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo," Mr. Carter said in a news conference following a two-day human rights conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

In addition to closing Guantánamo Bay and two dozen other secret detention facilities, Mr. Carter said, the United States needs to make sure no detainees are held incommunicado and that they all be told the charges against them.

His other recommendations included that the United States stop transferring detainees to foreign countries where torture has been reported and that an independent commission be created to investigate where terrorism suspects are held in American custody.

Mr. Carter also said that the United States should reaffirm its commitment to due process and international law, and assure that the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners are enforced.

A delegation of human rights advocates from around the world will be in Washington on Wednesday to present their testimony to leaders of the United States government.

Despite his criticism of the Guantánamo Bay prison, Mr. Carter said Amnesty International should not have called it "the gulag of our time" when describing the facility in a report last month.

Prisoners Delayed In Release

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) - Fifteen detainees at Guantánamo Bay whom the Pentagon has promised to free after clearing them of being "enemy combatants," remain jailed because the United States has been unable so far to arrange for them to return to their home countries, officials said Tuesday.

The Pentagon said more than two months ago that it would free the men, but concern about the treatment they might face from their home governments appears to be a factor in the delay.

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