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US military begins probe of Guantanamo detainee abuse allegations

[JURIST] US Army Col. Richard Basset traveled to the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Wednesday to begin an investigation into accusations of abuse [JURIST report]. The US Defense Department last week ordered [press release, PDF] US Southern Command [official website], which oversees the military facility, to investigate allegations that military guards beat detainees and took away their personal items for no apparent reason. The allegations [JURIST report] were described in a complaint filed by Marine Corps Lt. Col. Colby Vokey at the US Department of Defense Office of Inspector General [official website], along with an affidavit from Vokey's paralegal, who heard several guards bragging about beating prisoners.

The US Marine Corps [official website] has ordered Vokey and his paralegal to refrain from speaking to media [JURIST report] about their accusations. Vokey currently represents Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive], the 19-year-old Canadian citizen who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years. Basset has approximately 30 days to submit his report to Southern Command. A military spokesman said Wednesday that Basset has the authority to interview anyone part of the military unit that runs the prison, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay [official website], no matter the person's rank. AP has more.

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