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US faces mounting criticism over Iraqi prisoner abuse

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US faces mounting criticism over Iraqi prisoner abuse


The United States has come under fresh pressure to close its Guatanamo Bay jail in Cuba. The United Nations says the detention facility should be shut down immediately and its inmates either put on trial or released without delay. In a 40-page report, which had already been largely leaked, five United Nations special envoys said the US was violating a host of human rights, including a ban on torture, arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial.

The findings were based on interviews with past detainees, lawyers and replies to questions put to the US government. The European Parliament has also urged the US to shut down the jail for good. EU member states are not obliged to back the symbolic call, which adds to mounting international pressure on Washington to close the camp. Washington denies any international laws are being broken and rejects claims that the force-feeding of inmates on hunger strike, which was undertaken to save their lives, amounted to cruel treatment. Meanwhile, the International Committe of the Red Cross has condemned what it calls clear violations of international humanitarian law at Abu Ghraib jail. It follows an Australian television station broadcast of previously unseen images of abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Some of the pictures were shown last year at the trials of US soldiers now serving time for abuse, but the suggestion of further ill-treatment and sexual humiliation has reignited anger against the United States. It comes after a British newspaper recently published images of British soldiers apparently beating Iraqi youths.
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