Guantanamo detainee files rights commission complaint against US

[JURIST] Guantanamo Bay detainee Djamel Ameziane [advocacy profile, DOC] Wednesday filed a complaint [DOC text; press release] against the US with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [governing statute; official website], alleging that he had been tortured, given inadequate medical treatment, and denied other basic rights. The complaint was filed on Ameziane's behalf by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law [advocacy websites], and was the first to be brought by a detainee. The groups contend that Ameziane's treatment violates conditions of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man [materials] and that Ameziane has been denied timely review of his habeas corpus petition by the US, despite the US Supreme Court ruling [text; JURIST report] in Boumediene v. Bush, where it held that detainees have the right to bring such petitions. The advocacy groups stated:

Djamel Ameziane is a prisoner at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been held virtually incommunicado, without charge or judicial review of his detention, for six and a half years. While arbitrarily and indefinitely detained by the United States at Guantánamo, Mr. Ameziane has been physically and psychologically tortured, denied medical care for health conditions resulting from his confinement, prevented from practicing his religion without interference and insult, and deprived of developing his private and family life. The stigma of Guantánamo will continue to impact his life long after he is released from the prison. These harms, as well as the denial of any effective legal recourse to seek accountability and reparations for the violations he has suffered, constitute violations of fundamental rights under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (“American Declaration”). The U.S. government, as a signatory to the Declaration, is obliged to respect these rights vis-à-vis Mr. Ameziane by virtue of holding him as its prisoner.
The groups asked the IACHR to issue "precautionary measures" to prevent the US from committing further alleged abuses against Ameziane, to consider his release in a timely manner, and to ensure that he is not returned to a country where he could face abuse once he is released. AFP has more.

In June, a special investigator for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCEPA) [official website] joined [OSCEPA report; JURIST report] numerous international groups and rights activists in calling for the closure of the Guantanamo detention center [JURIST news archive]. In February, the leaders of 34 international bar associations and law societies sent a letter [PDF text] to US President George W. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging the "immediate closure" of the facility [JURIST report]. Last October, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin called on the US to quickly prosecute or release terror suspects [JURIST report] detained at Guantanamo Bay so that the US can close the detention center. In May, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reiterated President Bush's August 2007 claim that the US wants to close the base [JURIST reports], but that both legal and logistical impediments make the closure difficult.

 

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