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Camp X-Ray photo revives abuse fears

London - Amnesty International has called on the US to give prisoners held at a US naval base in Cuba access to lawyers and independent monitors after the publication of a new photo showing a shackled prisoner being carried on a stretcher.

Noting that the photograph was an official Pentagon picture, the director of research at the international human rights organisation said on Monday it revived concerns about the fate of the 158 Taliban and al-Qaeda men being held at the base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

"It is absolutely important that as soon as possible they be given access to lawyers and to independent monitors like us," said Claudio Cordone, the research director.

He expressed concern at the cages that are exposed to the elements and the men being shackled "even when they go to a shower".

The detainees in the compound known as Camp X-Ray are held in open, chain-link enclosures behind fences topped with barbed wire and patrolled by guards with machine guns and grenade launchers.

Washington has come under strong criticism abroad, particularly from its European allies, for its attitude to the prisoners.

Amnesty also asked that the poor conditions under which about five thousand prisoners still in Afghanistan were being held not be forgotten. - Sapa-AFP



Published on the Web by IOL on 2002-02-04 19:55:08



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