Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Cuba Says US Must Shut Guantanamo
May 1, 2013
CUBA'S foreign minister has demanded that Washington shut its controversial jail at Guantanamo Bay and return the long-held military base to Havana.
The comments by Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva came a day after US President Barack Obama vowed again to shut the military prison, saying it was damaging US interests.
"We are deeply concerned about the legal limbo that supports the permanent and atrocious violation of human rights at the illegal naval base in Guantanamo, a Cuba territory that was usurped by the United States, a centre of torture and deaths of prisoners who are under custody," Parrilla said.
He said 160 people had been detained in Guantanamo for 10 years, "without any guarantees, without being tried by a court or the right to legal defence".
"That prison and military base should be shut down and that territory should be returned to Cuba," he said.
Parrilla also slammed the force-feeding of more than a dozen hunger strikers who, like the bulk of the detainees in the "war on terror" lock-up, have been refusing food for weeks.
Earlier Wednesday, the UN's human rights office had said that feeding hunger strikers against their will was a breach of international law.
The hunger strike, now into its 12th week, has heightened the pressure on Washington to shut what Obama has called a legal "no man's land".
Obama said Tuesday he did not want any inmates to die and urged Congress to help him find a long-term solution that would allow for prosecuting terror suspects while shutting down Guantanamo.
The facility was set up by his predecessor George W. Bush to hold suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere after the attacks of September 11, 2001. (Herald Sun, Australia)