GITMO CONDITIONS WORSENING: AMNESTY

Conditions in the US detention facility in Guantanamo are worsening with the sweeping majority of detainees being held in cruel isolation, Amnesty International said in a new report issued on April 5.

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Conditions in the US detention facility in Guantanamo are worsening with the sweeping majority of detainees being held in cruel isolation, Amnesty International said in a new report issued on April 5.

“It appears that detainees are being placed in extreme lock-down conditions not because of their individual behaviour but because of harsher camp operating procedures,” reads the report posted on Amnesty’s website.

“A new facility that opened in December 2006, known as Camp Six, has created even harsher and apparently more permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.” The report, “USA: Cruel and inhuman – Conditions of isolation for detainees in Guantanamo Bay”, says 165 detainees have since been transferred to the new facility.

It notes that a further 100 detainees are being held in solitary confinement in Camp 5, another maximum security facility.

Twenty others are being held in solitary confinement in Camp Echo, where conditions have been described by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as “extremely harsh.”

“Detainees are confined for 22 hours a day to individual, enclosed, steel cells where they are almost completely cut off from human contact. The cells have no windows to the outside or access to natural light or fresh air,” said the international watchdog.

“In some respects, they appear more severe than the most restrictive levels of “super-maximum” custody on the US mainland, which have been criticized by international bodies as incompatible with human rights treaties and standards.”

Washington has been holding hundreds of detainees, mostly arrested in Afghanistan, at the top security detention facility since 2001.

Amnesty has branded Guantanamo the new gulag prisons, the Soviet detention centres notorious for torturing political prisoners and suspects.