UN report calls Guantanamo a torture camp
• UN demands Guantanamo prisoners by freed or be given fair trial
• US holds about 490 men at detention centre in Cuba
• British prisoners allowed to seek order requiring Foreign Secretary's help
"All special interrogation techniques authorised by the Department of Defence should immediately be revoked. Such treatment amounts to torture, as it inflicts severe pain or suffering on the victims for the purpose of intimidation and/or punishment" - UN report
Story in full DENTENTION facilities at Guantanamo Bay must be closed by the United States because it is effectively a torture camp where prisoners have no access to justice, according to a United Nations investigation released yesterday.
The 54-page final report, summarising an investigation by five UN experts, accused the US of practices that "amount to torture" and demanded that detainees either be allowed a fair trial or released.
The report strengthened the case of three British residents detained at Guantanamo Bay who were yesterday granted permission by a High Court judge to seek a court order requiring Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, to petition for their release.
The case brought by Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna and Omar Deghayes, and members of their families living in the UK, could be heard as early as next week.
After being shown a copy of the UN report, the judge said he would have to approach the case on the basis that there was evidence torture was being practised there.
The US is holding about 490 men at its military detention centre. They are accused of having links to Afghanistan's ousted Taleban regime or to al-Qaeda. Only a handful have been charged.
Manfred Nowak, one of the UN investigators, said: "Those people should be released or brought before an independent court."
"All special interrogation techniques authorised by the Department of Defence should immediately be revoked," the report said. "Such treatment amounts to torture, as it inflicts severe pain or suffering on the victims for the purpose of intimidation and/or punishment."
The report's authors had sought invitations from the US to visit Guantanamo Bay since 2002. Three were invited last year, but refused in November after being told they could not interview detainees.
The American ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Kevin Moley, responded that the investigation had taken little account of evidence provided by the US. "We categorically object to most of the unedited report's content and conclusions as largely without merit and not based clearly in the facts," Mr Moley wrote in a response.
Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, rejected the call to shut down the camp, saying the military treated all detainees humanely and "these are dangerous terrorists that we're talking about".
The Pentagon has acknowledged ten cases of abuse or mistreatment, including a female interrogator climbing onto a detainee's lap and a detainee whose knees were bruised from being forced to kneel repeatedly.
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