Guantanamo Bay: Former prisoner discusses being released
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Speaking at a Beijing press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that Guantanamo is a cause of “great indignation” among the international community. He hit out at US promises to close the prison, noting that it still holds 39 inmates. He also claimed that if there is a “detention camp for Muslims in the world, it is Guantanamo”.
The spokesperson added: “In fact, the secret prisons set up by the United States are all over the world, and Guantanamo is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Mr Wenbin also claimed that the US has set up a large number of secret prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said: “The atrocities, torture and murder of Iraqi civilians by the US military after the invasion of Iraq caused a world uproar over the scandal of the abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison.”
China called on the US to “immediately close Guantanamo and secret prisons around the world”.
The spokesperson said that these “black prisons” were a reminder that America’s human rights record is misleading.
He also called for the end of the arbitrary detention and torture of prisoners.
This comes as tensions between the US and China have been growing over China’s own alleged human rights abuses.
The White House confirmed in December that it will stage a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, as a protest against “crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses”.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support.
“We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home.
“We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”
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But on January 11, Guantanamo Bay prison marked twenty years since it admitted its first inmate.
The infamous prison, located in Cuba, was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Critics say that inmates are held indefinitely outside of normal laws or judicial oversight.
US President Joe Biden initially said he wanted to close the facility.
But instead, according to the New York Times, the prison will be expanded under the Biden administration with a new $4m “secret courtroom” to be built this year.
In its 20 year lifespan, 780 men have passed through the facility.
Amnesty International has publicly criticised it, with Daphne Eviatar, Director of the Security with Human Rights Program, saying the facility has a “complete lack of due process”.
She said in a statement: “These are detentions that are inescapably bound up with multiple layers of unlawful government conduct over the years – secret transfers, incommunicado interrogations, forced feeding of hunger strikers, torture, enforced disappearance, and a complete lack of due process.”
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