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Bush calls Amnesty International rights report 'absurd'

[JURIST] In a White House press conference [transcript] Tuesday US President George W. Bush slammed a report from rights group Amnesty International [JURIST report, AI press release] as "absurd" after the organization referred to US detention facilities abroad as an international "gulag." Bush stressed that the US "promotes freedom around the world" and that every instance of abuse - involving a very small percentage of the thousands of people detained - had been investigated. The President went on to say that some of the allegations were made by detainees "who hate America." US Vice President Dick Cheney also denounced the report [AP report] in a CNN interview Monday night saying, "Frankly, I was offended by it," while also stressing that he didn't take the rights group seriously. The AI claims have similarly been rejected [JURIST report] by General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. AFP has more.

4:55 PM ET - Responding to President Bush's comments, Amnesty International USA issued a statement saying

At Guantánamo, the US has operated an isolated prison camp in which people are confined arbitrarily, held virtually incommunicado, without charge, trial or access to due process. Not a single Guantánamo detainee has had the legality of their detention reviewed by a court, despite the Supreme Court ruling of last year....US interrogation and detention policies and practices during the "war on terror", have deliberately and systematically breached the absolute prohibition of torture and Ill-treatment. Individuals held in US custody have been transferred for interrogation to countries known to practice torture. If President Bush and his administration are serious about freedom and human dignity they should recommit to the rule of law and human rights.
Read the full AI USA statement.

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