Tags: Terrorist | Detainees | Arrive | Cuba

Terrorist Detainees Arrive in Cuba

Friday, 11 January 2002 12:00 AM

One of the prisoners was sedated for the flight, Rumsfeld said.

The Pentagon has labeled the 445 Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners as detainees, a technical legal matter that removes protections and rights conferred by the Geneva Convention on "prisoners of war."

Because the fighters were not in official uniforms and carried concealed weapons, among other Geneva Convention violations, Rumsfeld said the United States was not required to recognize them as lawful combatants.

"Unlawful combatants ... do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention," Rumsfeld said. "We don't have to."

He asserted the prisoners were being treated in a manner "reasonably consistent" with international law.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers defended the security measures taken with the 20 men, who were shackled and hooded and not allowed to use the restroom on the more than 27-hour trip from Afghanistan.

"These are people who would gnaw through hydraulics lines on the C-17 to bring it down," Myers said, only half-joking. Some of the same prisoners staged a bloody, four-day uprising with hidden weapons at a prison in Mazar-i-Sharif, and several prisoners in Afghanistan have killed themselves in an attempt to kill their captors.

Rumsfeld denied that such treatment was a violation of international law, as human rights advocate Amnesty International stated Thursday. "It simply isn't," he said.

Rumsfeld said there was nothing special about these prisoners that merited their being sent to Guantanamo Bay first.

"These are people who probably had reached a certain phase of their interrogation," he said.

Because there is a limited amount of space for prisoners in Afghanistan they are being moved to the secure facility in Cuba. The first group of 20 arrived at 1:50 p.m. EST Friday, Rumsfeld said. "We just have to keep the flow going," he said.

The detainees are to be photographed, fingerprinted and given orange jumpsuits to wear while at Camp X-Ray, according a military spokesman.

They left Afghanistan on Thursday at around 11 a.m. EST.

The detainees were to be escorted from the airstrip on the western side of Guantanamo Bay, loaded into a ferry and taken across to the other side of the bay where the camp stands.

"We're going to get them to X-Ray as soon as possible," said spokesman Navy Lt. Bill Salvin. "We want to get it as right as we possibly can. Obviously we've been told this is a tough group of people, and we're prepared to secure them here at Camp X-Ray."

Camp X-Ray is ready to hold about 100 detainees and when finished will have room for about 220. In the next few months, permanent facilities capable of holding 2,000 captives from the war will be constructed. Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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One of the prisoners was sedated for the flight, Rumsfeld said. The Pentagon has labeled the 445 Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners as detainees, a technical legal matter that removes protections and rights conferred by the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. Because...
Terrorist,Detainees,Arrive,Cuba
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2002-00-11
Friday, 11 January 2002 12:00 AM
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