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Marine Corps legal defense coordinator calls for probe of Guantanamo abuses

[JURIST] A top US Marine Corps lawyer has called for an investigation of alleged abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] after reviewing a sworn statement filed by a Marine paralegal who said that last month she spoke with a group of off-duty Marines who identified themselves as guards and bragged of beating and abusing prisoners. The guards led her to believe that the mistreatment - including the arbitrary denial of privileges, physically striking detainees, and depriving the detainees of hydration - were common practice and laughed at stories of how prisoners had been handled. Her two-page statement was forwarded to the Defense Department's Inspector General Wednesday and a copy was provided to the Associated Press Thursday by Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, the Marine defense co-ordinator for the western US who has aggressively represented Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [JURIST report], who said the behavior it described "is offensive and violates United States and international law."

Multiple detainees have claimed to have been victims of abuse at the US facility where three inmates actually committed suicide in June. International rights groups have long urged its closure, and their calls have lately been taken up by high-ranking officials in governments allied with the US in the "war on terror," including UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith [JURIST report]. AP has more.

9:15 AM ET 07/10/06 - A Pentagon spokesman said late Friday that it was reviewing the affidavit and would investigate the allegations. AP has more.

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