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US rejects calls to shut Guantanamo Bay

The United States denied charges of abuse at its prison for war on terrorism detainees in Guantanamo.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 21:28 IST

The United States on Thursday denied charges of abuse at its prison for war on terrorism detainees in Guantanamo Bay and rejected calls in a UN human rights report to shut the facility.

"These are dangerous terrorists that we're talking about that are there," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. "The military treats the detainees humanely."

McClellan said the International Committee of the Red Cross had "full access" to the prisoners and suggested that the allegations of abuse amounting to torture were propaganda by terrorists trained to make such charges.

"We know Al-Qaeda detainees are trained in trying to disseminate false allegations," he said. "Some of this, from the reporting I've seen, appears to be a rehash of some of the allegations that have been made by lawyers for some of the detainees."

Asked whether Washington was rejecting calls to shut the facility, McClellan said "nothing's changed" in the US view.

The UN report called for the United States to close down the detention center, pointing to violations it said amounted to torture.

In their report, five independent experts who act as monitors for the UN Human Rights Commission said, "The United States government should close the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities without further delay."

The 54-page document charged that US treatment of "war on terrorism" detainees at the naval base on Cuba violated their rights to physical and mental health and in some cases amounted to torture.

It also said that Washington's justification for holding the inmates there was a distortion of international human rights treaties.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 21:26 IST