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Report: U.S. Government Allows Security Forces from Brutal Human Rights Abusing Regimes to Threaten Prisoners at Guantánamo

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Report: 70 Percent of Guantánamo Prisoners Deteriorating in Solitary Confinement

Contact:

Jen Nessel, press@ccrjustice.org 

June 3, 2008, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released two reports on the conditions and treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. One report highlights numerous instances of threats and abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo by interrogators from brutal human rights abusing regimes who are given full access by the U.S. The second report demonstrates the deteriorating mental health of the overwhelming majority of Guantánamo prisoners relegated to solitary confinement at the prison.

Foreign Interrogators in Guantánamo Bay recounts interrogations of detainees by security officials from China, Uzbekistan, Libya, Jordan, Tajikistan and Tunisia – all countries that the U.S. State Department has consistently criticized for egregious treatment of detainees during interrogations in their own countries.

“The U.S. government has refused to allow our own elected representatives to meet with Guantánamo prisoners to hear their experiences, yet we have invited and facilitated interrogations from some of the most brutal human rights abusing regimes in the world. This is frankly unconscionable,” said CCR Staff Attorney Emi MacLean.

According to CCR, these brutal interrogations are further evidence of the dangers faced by approximately 50 Guantánamo detainees at risk of being returned to brutal regimes. MacLean continued, “The U.S. has repeatedly returned people to countries with full knowledge that they are likely to be tortured upon their return. The U.S. has twice tried to put our client Abdul Ra’ouf Al Qassim on a plane to Libya where he would face certain torture. Two former Guantánamo prisoners have already disappeared into Libya’s prisons after the U.S. transferred and abandoned them there.”

In a second report, Solitary Confinement at Guantánamo Bay, CCR details the deteriorating mental health of the approximately 70 percent of Guantánamo’s prisoners who are currently in solitary confinement – virtually all without charge or trial. Three of Guantánamo’s camps – Camps 5, 6, and Echo – house detainees in extreme conditions of solitary confinement, which the government speaks about as “single-occupancy cells” providing greater “privacy.”

CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren
said, “The government is not keeping these men in a Holiday Inn-type room—in reality, they live in brutal isolation with no chance of seeing the light of day, much less a fair trial.”

According to the report released today, one prisoner in Camp 6 recounted to his lawyer, “I’ve started talking to the ceiling. I know it’s crazy, but I can’t stand it anymore.” Another Camp 6 prisoner with deteriorating mental health, stated, “I look alive, but actually I’m dead.”

CCR reiterated its call for the rapid closure of Guantánamo and the immediate removal of all men from solitary confinement facilities to communal living.

The information in the reports was provided to members of the House Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight last week for a hearing on the plight of Guantánamo’s refugees.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.