http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=84437&d=27&m=6&y=2006 - http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=84 437&d=27&m=6&y=2006
a recent appearance on German TV, US President George Bush showed a desire for closing down the accursed Guantanamo prison. This is no surprise considering the spate of criticism coming almost daily from various human rights organizations and peace activists worldwide.
They have called for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, opened by the US administration in 2002 to house a number of suspects in total isolation from the outside world. The inmates are put under unimaginably harsh conditions and are under strict round-the-clock watch and hence cannot even think of escape from the jail.
While calling for the dratted prison to be closed down, human rights organizations point to the clear breach of international conventions, laws, regulations and, importantly, rights of individuals.
Most of the Guantanamo inmates have not been brought before the court and have spent years without being aware of their charges. They protest their innocence even under pressure from the interrogators to admit to grave crimes. What seems intriguing is the US administrationís keenness in keeping the affairs of the jail under wraps. The inmates have no contact with their relatives except through some letters that, in any case, take a long time to reach them.
Human rights organizations are banned from visiting the jail. The UN Commission on Human Rights asked for a visit to the prison and received a response after four years, allowing only three of its members inside for just a day to meet the administrators, commissioners and the guards but not the prisoners.
This type of strict ban on rights bodies and others bespeaks the US administrationís attempts to hide the acute hardships suffered by the inmates. If good conditions had prevailed in the jail, the US administration would surely have opened the doors for visitors whenever required.
There is no smoke without fire. The widespread talk about the Guantanamo jail, the contents of the letters of the detainees to their relatives and the statements of the released prisoners point to torture of the prisoners and other human rights abuses. All this is a clear breach of human rights.
The US has always presented itself as a champion of human rights worldwide, and has called for justice, freedom and human rights at every opportunity. But what happens in Guantanmo prison contravenes all international laws, human rights and the US administrationís own claims. The US government ignores international calls and even calls from within the US for closing down the jail. The existence of the Guantanamo prison with all its inhuman conditions is certainly a disgrace to humanity. It is absolutely wrong to keep the suspects in prison for years on without being brought before tribunals. None of the inmates knows for sure when he would be released or on what charges he has been imprisoned. No doubt, the world community agrees to the principle that there should be strict and fair punishment for the wrongdoers. But for this, the US ought to bring the detainees before the court. Besides, it needs to open the jail doors for human rights organizations to monitor the conditions inside. Human rights and justice should not remain as mere slogans; what is important is to put these principles into practice.
The conditions in the Guantanamo prison represent an obvious return to the age of slavery and are a disgrace to humankind.
What if an American citizen is shut up in a Guantanamo-type jail for years without trial? What would be the US administrationís stance then?
"Every good deed is charity whether you come to your brother's assistance or just greet him with a smile.