June 19, 2006

Amnesty wants EU to push US to close Guantanamo

MADRID (Reuters) - The European Union should demand that
the United States shut the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and open
detention centers around the world to outside observers,
Amnesty International said on Tuesday before an EU-U.S. summit.

Current EU president Austria, which will host the summit on
Wednesday, has said that the deaths of three Arab prisoners in
Guantanamo Bay underlined the need to close the prison, which
holds 460 people.

Amnesty International said the European Union should also
demand clear explanations of the United States' "rendition"
program -- flying prisoners via Europe to detention centers.

"After four years, the EU finally seems ready to demand the
closure of Guantanamo," Dick Oosting, the head of the human
rights group's EU office, said in a statement.

"That is a positive step, but the EU cannot ignore other
detention centers or the complicity of its own member states in
the rendition program used to send prisoners to Guantanamo and
other places," he added in a statement issued in Spanish.

Amnesty International said the EU should demand all
detention centers be opened to independent psychologists and
doctors as well as human rights groups and the United Nations
to check if they met international law and standards.

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. authorities are still
holding thousands of people, denying them justice and possibly
exposing them to torture or mistreatment," it said.