US stonewalls UN on Gitmo torture

Now let’s see… This is the same United States of America that initiated war against Iraq for allegedly stonewalling UN inspectors, right? Thanks to TruthOut for passing this one along.

UN Experts Cite Guantanamo Torture Reports
By Bradley S. Klapper
The Associated Press

Thursday 23 June 2005

Geneva – UN human rights investigators, citing “persistent and credible” reports of torture at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, urged the United States on Thursday to allow them to check conditions there.

The failure of the United States to respond to requests since early 2002 is leading the experts to conclude Washington has something to hide at the Cuban base, said Manfred Nowak, a specialist on torture and a professor of human rights law in Vienna, Austria.

“At a certain point, you have to take well-founded allegations as proven in the absence of a clear explanation by the government,” Nowak said.

However, he added: “We are not making a judgment if torture or treatment under degrading conditions has taken place.”

Washington’s response is delayed because the US review process is “thorough and independent” and involves the Bush administration, Congress and the judicial system, said Brooks Robinson, spokeswoman for the US mission to UN offices in Geneva.

“The main point is that their request is being addressed and discussed and reviewed in the United States,” Robinson told The Associated Press. “That process is underway.”

But one investigator, Algerian magistrate Leila Zerrougui, said: “The time is up. We have to act now. If not, we won’t have any credibility left.”

For more than three years, UN investigators have made numerous requests to visit foreign terror suspects at the US Naval base in Cuba and at US facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the four independent specialists told reporters.

“We deeply regret that the government of the United States has still not invited us to visit those persons arrested, detained or tried on grounds of alleged terrorism or other violations,” the experts said.

See our last post on the ongoing torture scandal.