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UN rights experts call for US to close Guantanamo after suicides

[JURIST] The United Nations [official website] on Wednesday renewed its calls for the US to immediately close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] in the wake of three detainee suicides [JURIST report] last weekend, saying the suicides were predictable because of the conditions there. In a statement [text] issued Wednesday, five UN human rights experts who have been monitoring events at Guantanamo expressed concern about the mental health of the 400-plus detainees at Guantanamo, using the simultaneous suicides to support their contention. A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights [official website] said the US should make closing the base and figuring out what to do with the detainees its highest priority.

The US Department of Defense [official website] on Tuesday rejected [JURIST report] a demand by rights group Amnesty International [advocacy website] to conduct an independent inquiry into the Guantanamo suicides, stating that the military will adequately investigate the suicides. Also on Tuesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross [advocacy website] announced plans to visit detainees at Guantanamo [JURIST report] to assess the overall mood of the camp, while the European Parliament approved a motion [BBC report] on Monday renewing its call for the US to close Guantanamo. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.

3:19 PM ET - A delegation of Afghan officials just back from Guantanamo Bay said Wednesday that conditions were "humane" and that after speaking freely with all 96 Afghan detainees, "only one or two" complaints were lodged. The group of officials spent 10 days visiting the facility. AP has more.

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