Amnesty calls on the USA: Close Guantánamo
United States, action created 21.4.2014, petition is active
The facility at Guantánamo, Cuba has become a symbol of the gross human rights violations being committed by the United States of America in the name of fighting terrorism. There are currently at least 150 men being detained in Guantánamo, many who have not been held without being charged or given a trial. Amnesty International believes the men must be given fair trials or released. In addition, Amnesty International is calling on the US government to close Guantánamo once and for all.
The controversial American military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba was established after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 by President George W Bush to house terrorism suspects. Bush's successor, President Barack Obama, declared in 2009 that he would close the prison within one year. However, five years later, the prison remains open, clearly demonstrating the double standards of the United States concerning the issues of human rights.
Many men are being held by the United States government in Guantánamo without being given a fair trial. They are tried by military tribunal, which come far short of the internationally accepted conditions for a fair trial. In the 12 years the prison has been open, nearly 800 prisoners have been held there for some period of time, and less than one percent of those were convicted by a military tribunal. The USA expects other countries to do what it refuses to – accept released detainees who cannot be repatriated. As a result, even those who obtain a judicial ruling against their detention may continue to be held. Prisoners who cannot return to their homeland, for whatever reason, often are forced to remain in limbo in Guantánamo for months or even years.
The prison at Guantánamo has been criticized by organizations working for the protection of human rights as well as the international community and repeatedly criticized by Amnesty International. The unlimited detention of prisoners without charge or trial is a violation of international law. Interrogation methods utilized in Guantánamo are compared to torture, and six inmates have committed suicide. Approximately 800 people have passed through Guantánamo; the vast majority were never charged, and for years had no access to lawyers. Currently, the prison holds 150 prisoners, and most of them are also being held without charge or trial.
President Obama originally promised to close the prison in 2009, and in January 2014 again promised to close the prison at the latest by January 2015.