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UN torture investigator says Europe could help close Guantanamo by taking detainees

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak [official website] told an Austrian radio station Thursday that European countries could help bring about the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center [JURIST news archive] by accepting some detainees into their judicial and penitentiary systems. Nowak has previously called on the US to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report] due to documented human rights violations [OHCHR report] and the denial of due process to most detainees held there.

Three detainees committed suicide [JURIST report] at the prison early in June, prompting renewed calls by the UN [JURIST report] and international rights groups to shut it down. European nations have nonetheless been wary of committing resources to detain and try the detainees themselves. An EU lawmaker last week proposed an international criminal tribunal to try Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST report], a proposal supported by the majority of European Parliament members.

During the EU-US Summit in Vienna Wednesday, President Bush suggested that US courts could begin trying Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST report] as soon as the Supreme Court rules on the legality of military tribunals for detainees in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [Duke case backgrounder; JURIST report]. The Court is expected to release the Hamdan opinion next week. The Guantanamo Bay prison facility currently houses an estimated 450 prisoners; only 10 have been formally charged. AP has more.

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