UN rapporteur wants access to Guantanamo inmates


Juan Mendez

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, says he had called on the US military to allow him to interview detainees held at the Guantanamo prison once he was invited to visit the detention center in Cuba.

Earlier in 2012, Mendez refused to visit the prison because the Pentagon did not allow him to meet with the inmates even in the presence of US officials.

“I got an invitation to Guantanamo that I could not accept because the terms were not acceptable, and I’m insisting on being invited to Guantanamo,” he said on Tuesday.

The UN special rapporteur on torture said he was invited two years ago by the Pentagon to tour the facility and to meet the authorities there.

Following a request that was “pending for a quite a long time now,” Mendez is now negotiating to visit solitary confinement cells.

Many of the detainees held at the prison have been subjected to torture such as waterboarding.

US President Barack Obama, who promised to close down the prison in 2009, acknowledged that the detainees suffered ill-treatment.

“We tortured some folks,” said the president in August. “We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

At a US court hearing that was held for the force-feeding case of Syrian prisoner, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, earlier this month, a University of Minnesota professor of medical sciences testified that many of the techniques US officials have been using to feed the prisoners run counter to the accepted medical standards.

Describing the practice as “astonishing,” Steven Miles said that the US government is applying ill-advised procedures as a form of punishment for hunger strikers.

Dhiab, who has been held without charge at the prison since August 2002, told his lawyers that since being brought to the jail, he has been forcibly removed from his cell over 1,300 times, strapped on a restraining chair and force-fed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *