Rights Panel Warned of ‘Dire’ Gitmo Conditions

State Dept Shrugs Off Warnings, Insists Detentions 'Lawful'

by Jason Ditz, March 12, 2013

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has heard testimony from the lawyers of Guantanamo Bay detainees today, along with medical experts who testified to the “dire” conditions therein.

A large number of detainees are on hunger strikes at present, and the experts cautioned that the prospect of life imprisoned without charges or a trial was likely a leading factor in the large number of suicides the detention center has seen.

State Department official Michael Williams dismissed the concerns, insisting that the detainees are “treaty humanely” and that all detentions by the US are “lawful” in nature. He also blamed Congress for the facility remaining open.

President Obama had promised to close the facility upon taking office, but delayed doing so repeatedly, cheering Congress for blocking a resolution to close the it, and scrapping a pledge to see it closed within a year, opting instead to restart military tribunals.

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