US faces criticism on Guantanamo anniversary

 

Two years to the day after the first prisoners began arriving at GuantanamoBay, families of detainees are asking how much longer they must wait for theirloved ones to be tried or released.

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It is time to get our children back or for them to be tried in an impartialCourt.
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Mr Khalid al-Odah, father of Guantanamo detainee

As the prison camp marks its second year anniversary today, the United Statesfaced criticism from foreign governments and human rights groups, questioningwhy hundreds of terror suspects have been held for so long without charges orlegal representation.

"It is time to get our children back or for them to be tried in an impartialcourt," said Mr Khalid al-Odah, a Kuwaiti whose 26-year-old son Fawzi was one ofthe first to arrive at the bleak outpost. "But nobody is listening. That is theproblem."

Mr Al-Odah's hopes are resting on the US Supreme Court, which is to hear thefirst appeal early this year on whether the prisoners should have access toAmerican courts, something opposed by US President George Bush.

Over the past two years, US officials have released 88 people held at thedetention camp in eastern Cuba - but new ones have regularly been brought in,bringing the current detainee population to about 660.

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You have people sitting there for two years with rights under internationallaw being utterly ignored by the administration.
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Mr Jamie Fellner, USdirector of Human Rights Watch

Many critics say the US has abandoned its judicial principles in its zeal toprevent another terrorist attack on its soil following September 11, 2001. "You have people sitting there for two years with rights under internationallaw being utterly ignored by the administration," said Mr Jamie Fellner, USdirector of Human Rights Watch.

PA