A draft U.N. report on the detainees at Guantanamo Bay concludes that the U.S. treatment of them violates their right to physical and mental health, and, in some cases, constitutes torture, the LA Times' Maggie Farley is set to report in Monday editions. Excerpts:
It also urges the United States to close the military prison in Cuba and bring the captives to trial on U.S. territory, charging that Washington's justification for the continued detention is a distortion of international law.
The report, compiled by five special envoys to the United Nations who interviewed U.S. officials, former prisoners, and detainees' lawyers and families, is the product of a year-and-a-half investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The team did not have access to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Its findings -- notably, a conclusion that the violent force-feeding of hunger strikers, incidents of excessive violence used in transporting prisoners and combinations of interrogation techniques "must be assessed as amounting to torture" -- are likely to stoke criticism of the detention facility.
"We very, very carefully considered all of the arguments posed by the U.S. government," said Manfred Nowak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, one of the envoys. "There are no conclusions that are easily drawn. But we concluded that the situation in several areas violates international law and conventions on human rights and torture."
The draft report, reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, has not been officially released; comments and clarifications from the U.S. government are being incorporated.