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UN rights investigators denied access to Guantanamo detention facility

[JURIST] The US government has turned down requests from two separate UN investigators to visit the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], the Washington Post reported [text] Thursday. UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak and UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin [official websites] had each requested access to the facility as well as detailed information about the detention center and detainees. Nowak also requested interviews with several high-value detainees, but the requests were denied. US officials have said they are willing to cooperate with UN investigators but are unable to share secret intelligence information. While UN officials concede that the Obama administration is no longer engaging in many of the controversial practices of the Bush administration, Scheinin indicated that he is concerned that other countries are still citing US policies to justify abusive practices. Also Thursday, US Vice President Joe Biden [official profile] said that Guantanamo will close by January [AFP report].

Also this week, White House officials said that a report on the closure of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay will be delayed [JURIST report] for six months. Despite the delay, White House officials said they remain confident that the facility will be shut down by January, in order to comply with Obama's executive order [text; JURIST report]. Earlier this month, it was reported that US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] is still considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture during the Bush administration.

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