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Guantanamo will close after Bush out of office: rights lawyer

[JURIST] Prominent human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith [Reprieve profile] said Sunday he expects detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] to be closed after US President George Bush leaves office next year, adding that the recent dismissal of military commission charges against detainees Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan [JURIST reports] were "another nail in the coffin for Guantanamo." Smith also said that the approximately 385 detainees held at Guantanamo only represent a small number of detainees held by the US worldwide; an official total reported in the Congressional Record in April 2006 indicated that 14,000 detainees were held globally by the United States. Smith criticized Guantanamo and other secret detention facilities as eroding the legitimacy of the United States in promoting democracy and respect for fundamental human rights.

Last Tuesday, US Nuremberg trials prosecutor Henry King, Jr. criticized the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [PDF text; JURIST news archive], saying it went against the principles of fairness [JURIST report] established during the trials of Nazi leaders and were contrary to the spirit of the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials]. Last Sunday, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell said he favored the immediate closure [JURIST report] of detention facilities at Guantanamo and also criticized the MCA. Reuters has more.

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