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UN report on Gitmo: treatment "must be assessed as amounting to torture"

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It is time to see this continuing embarassment and symbol of repression shut down. The Bush crowd acquired a taste for canceling human rights with Gitmo and hasn't looked back since.

The report, compiled by five special envoys to the United Nations who interviewed U.S. officials, former prisoners, and detainees' lawyers and families, is the product of a 1 1/2 -year investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The team did not have access to prisoners at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo.

"We very, very carefully considered all of the arguments posed by the U.S. government," said Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, one of the envoys. "There are no conclusions that are easily drawn. But we concluded that the situation in several areas violates international law and conventions on human rights and torture."

But the U.N. team concluded there had been insufficient due process to determine that all of the 502 people detained at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002 were "enemy combatants." The team determined that the primary purpose of their confinement was for interrogation, not to prevent them from taking up arms.

It also rejected the premise that "the war on terrorism" constituted an armed conflict for the purposes of international humanitarian law.

The report concludes that some of the treatment of detainees meets the definition of torture under the international Convention Against Torture: The acts are committed by government officials, with a clear purpose, inflicting severe pain or suffering against victims in a position of powerlessness.

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