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Holder confirms Guantanamo will close despite improvements

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website; JURIST news archive] Wednesday confirmed the Obama administration's intention to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] in 2010 despite his belief that the facility is now well-run and that detainees are treated appropriately by guards. After visiting the prison [JURIST report] earlier this week, Holder told reporters that he was impressed with what he saw there. His comments stand in direct contrast to statements [Reuters report] made earlier this week by Reprieve [advocacy website] human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour, who said that complaints of beatings and other abuses have increased substantially since December as guards supposedly anticipated closure and stricter restraints imposed by the new administration. Reprieve currently represents 31 Guantanamo detainees.

Holder's visit to Guantanamo Bay was part of the Justice Department's effort to carry out US President Barack Obama's January 22 executive order [text; JURIST report] freezing the military commission [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] system, calling for the review of US judicial policy towards the detainees, and directing the closure of Guantanamo within one year. Earlier this week US Navy Admiral Patrick Walsh [official profile] presented a report pursuant to the same order concluding that the prison now meets the requirements of the Geneva Conventions [JURIST report], although it may not have done so in the past.

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