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Guantanamo detainee alleges continued abuse in phone interview

[JURIST] Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammad El Gharani [advocacy backgrounder] has alleged that he has been recently abused by guards at the military prison, according to a Tuesday report [text] by Al Jazeera. El Gharani reportedly made the allegations during a phone interview with the Middle-Eastern news service, saying that guards regularly beat him, have used tear gas against him, and have broken his teeth. He also said the abuse started before US President Barack Obama took office, but has still continued. In response to the allegations [AP report], US Navy Lieutenant Commander Brook DeWalt on Wednesday said that there was no evidence to support El Gharani's claims, and that the US does not permit news agencies to interview detainees because it is prohibited by the Third Geneva Convention [text]. DeWalt said that El Gharani apparently took part in the interview during a phone call he was permitted to make to his family, and that the US is investigating the phone call.

In January, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] granted habeas [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] to Gharani and ordered his release. In March, excerpts from a previously-undisclosed report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] characterized tactics used against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo during the George W. Bush administration as torture [text; JURIST report]. In February, the US Department of Defense officially released [JURIST report] a report [text, PDF; JURIST report] in which it said that detainee conditions at the prison now comport with the Geneva Conventions.

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