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US rejects latest UK call to close Guantanamo Bay

[JURIST] The US State Department has rejected Britain's latest call for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention center, saying the prison would remain open as long as necessary and was needed to house "some very dangerous people." UK Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett [official profile] on Thursday called for Guantanamo's closure [JURIST report] because of its record on human rights and ineffectiveness in the fight against terror. Responding to Beckett's statement, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday that the US doesn't want Guantanamo to remain open indefinitely [press briefing transcript] and noted that "We do now have a process, or in the near future will have a process, guided by U.S. law to deal with the people who are in Guantanamo Bay and we will deal with those people according to the law and according to our international treaty obligations and as were outlined by the Supreme Court. So we all look forward to the day when Guantanamo Bay is closed down." BBC News has more.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] said Friday that it had visited 454 Guantanamo detainees, including 14 new detainees who had recently been transferred to Cuba from secret CIA-operated prisons. Included in the new group of inmates are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile], suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and two other al Qaeda leaders, Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah. US officials maintain that these 14 inmates were the last to be held in secret prisons. Reuters has more.

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