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Sunday, June 05, 2005

 

Amnesty: US has secret jails - June 5

Sunday, Posted: 8:07 PM EDT (0007 GMT)

Top GOP senator says Gitmo hearings might be appropriate

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The chief of Amnesty International USA alleged Sunday that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is part of a worldwide network of U.S. jails, some of them secret, where prisoners are mistreated and even killed.

William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty's Washington-based branch, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," defended the human rights group's recent criticism of U.S. treatment of detainees at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The U.S. is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons, into which people are being literally disappeared, held in indefinite, incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or a judicial system or to their families," Schulz said.

"And in some cases, at least, we know they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed."

Schulz also answered questions about previous remarks in which he labeled Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as "alleged high-level architects of torture."

"Any nation that is party to the Geneva Conventions ... is obligated under international law to investigate those who are alleged to be involved with the formulation of a policy of torture or with its carrying out," Schulz said.

He went on: "The United States should be the one that should investigate those who are alleged at least to be architects of torture, not just the foot solders who may have inflicted the torture directly, but those who authorized it or encouraged it or provided rationales for it."

A high-ranking Republican senator said Sunday that hearings on abuse allegations at Guantanamo Bay might be appropriate, and a top Democratic senator suggested closing down the prison.

"Look, it's very difficult to run a perfect prison," Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"But we have an open country. We have hearings on a whole lot of different subjects. We might well have hearings on this."

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he thinks the Guantanamo Bay prison imperils the nation and should cease operating.

"This has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world, and it is unnecessary to be in that position," Sen. Joe Biden said on ABC's "This Week."

Full story: CNN-Amnesty.

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