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 - Red Cross Urges Due Process in Guantanamo Bay

    Red Cross Urges Due Process in Guantanamo Bay

    The head of the International Red Cross urged the United States Tuesday to start legal proceedings for Afghan detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to improve law and order in Iraq.

    Jakob Kellenberger, president of organization, made the appeal in meetings with Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, an ICRC statement said.

    State Deptment spokeswoman Nancy Beck said Kellenberger requested a meeting with Powell to discuss the humanitarian situation in Iraq, especially the aid official's recent visit to Baghdad.

    As guardian of the Geneva Conventions on warfare, the Geneva-based ICRC encourages signatory countries to comply with their obligations toward occupied countries, war captives and victims of war.

    "In relation to Guantanamo, the ICRC president asked the U.S. authorities to institute due legal process and to make significant changes for the more than 600 internees held there," the statement said.

    "He also outlined the priorities of the ICRC's current and planned humanitarian activities in Iraq and emphasized the importance of further improving the security situation and maintaining order throughout the country," it added.

    The neutral body also has long been urging the U.S. military to clarify the legal status of hundreds of prisoners held at a detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The U.S. military maintains the detainees are illegal combatants and are not entitled to prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions.

    The detainees, who began arriving at the base in eastern Cuba on Jan. 11, 2002, are suspected of links to the ousted Taliban regime in Afghanistan or the al-Qaida network, but none have been charged.

    The ICRC is the only independent group whose officials are allowed to visit the detainees.

    Source: Heraldtribune

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