USA: NEW REPORT FINDS CAMP X-RAY AND CAMP RHINO UNDERMINE HUMAN RIGHTS

'The US government must ensure that all its actions in relation to those in its custody in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay comply with international law and standards,' Amnesty International said. 'This is crucial if justice is to be done and seen to be done, and if respect for the rule of law and human rights is not to be undermined.'

The organisation is also renewing its 22 January request for access to the detainees held in Camp X-Ray, as no reply has been received from the US authorities.

Amnesty International's Memorandum accuses the USA of denying or threatening to deny the internationally recognised rights of people taken into its custody in Afghanistan and elsewhere - some 300 of whom have been transferred to Camp X-Ray - in particular by:

- transferring and holding people in conditions that may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and that violate other minimum standards relating to detention;

- refusing to grant people in its custody access to legal counsel, despite ongoing interrogations which may lead to prosecutions;

- refusing to grant detainees access to courts to challenge the lawfulness of their detention;

- refusing to disclose full information about the circumstances of many of the arrests, including whether they occurred in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or elsewhere;

- undermining human rights protections in cases of people taken into custody outside Afghanistan and transferred to Camp X-Ray and elsewhere, including six Algerian nationals seized in Bosnia in apparent violation of Bosnian and international law;

- undermining the presumption of innocence through a pattern of public commentary on the presumed guilt of the Camp X-Ray detainees;

- threatening to apply an unfair justice system, in selecting foreign nationals for trial before military commissions lacking clear independence from the executive and with the power to hand down death sentences without the right of appeal to an independent, impartial court;

- raising the prospect of indefinite detention without charge or trial, or continued detention after acquittal by military commission, or repatriation threatening the principle of non-refoulement;

- failing to show that it conducted an impartial and thorough investigation into allegations of human rights violations against Afghan villagers detained by US soldiers in Afghanistan.

The US government has refused to grant any of the detainees in Afghanistan or Guantánamo Bay prisoner of war status, or to bring any disputed cases before a competent tribunal as required under the Geneva Conventions.

'The USA's 'pick and choose' approach to the Geneva Conventions is unacceptable, as is its failure to respect fundamental international human rights standards,' Amnesty International said.

Read the Memorandum

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