Friday, December 09, 2005
AFP: US rejects Red Cross demand for access to all terror suspects - Dec. 9
42 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States rejected a fresh call by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for full access to terror suspects, saying some of those detained were "exceptional" and posed "unique threats" to US security.
The ICRC on Friday sought access to all detainees held by the United States in the campaign against terror groups, including those allegedly held in "secret prisons" abroad.
The group is at present allowed to visit detainees held at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, shown below right, under an internationally recognized legal mandate to oversee the fair treatment of detainees captured in conflicts.
But recent reports by human rights groups have alleged that the United States is holding more detainees in "secret prisons" abroad.
The Geneva-based ICRC made the request for full access one day after comments by a senior US State Department official indicating that the humanitarian agency could not have access to the full range of detainees.
"The Geneva Conventions covers prisoners of war. The people that were being held and that we're talking about are not prisoners of war, so they are not covered by the Geneva Conventions," Adam Ereli, deputy State Department spokesman, told reporters.
"They are Al-Qaeda, they are terrorists," he said. "For a variety of legal reasons and by a variety of legal definitions they do not qualify as prisoners of war."
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