A report prepared for the Pentagon by US Navy Admiral Patrick Walsh concluded that the Guantánamo Bay detention center meets the requirements of the Geneva Conventions, according to Feb. 20 statements from US officials who have reviewed the document. The report, which has not been released, was prepared by the Pentagon in response to President Barack Obama‘s Jan. 22 executive order requiring the closure of the facility within one year. The report is believed to contain recommendations to alleviate solitary conditions in the prison by increasing the ability of detainees to speak with each other and congregate in communal spaces. The report also approved certain controversial tactics used at the facility, including the force-feeding of inmates engaged in hunger strikes, and the placement of high-risk detainees in isolation.
Walsh was chosen to lead the assessment of operations last month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, pursuant to the Jan. 22 executive order. Last week, the Obama administration announced that it had taken the first step towards closure of the Guantánamo facility by beginning a review of detainees being held at the prison. The Jan. 22 order called for the review to be conducted by a “Special Task Force on Detainee Disposition,” which includes US Attorney General Eric Holder and Gates as co-chairs. The review is intended to determine the options available in regards to the prosecution, transfer, or other dispositions of detainees, along with providing an assessment of detention policies. In addition, the order instructed Gates immediately to halt military commission proceedings pending the comprehensive review, but did not specify where detainees would go upon release. The order also called for diplomatic efforts with foreign states in order to facilitate the closure of the facility. (Jurist, Feb. 21)
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