The United States has been admonished by a United Nations expert to apologise for the torture of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates, to ensure accountability for abuses, and to close down the infamous US-run detention facility in Cuba.
In a report released on Monday, UN Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ni Aolain thanked the administration of US President Joe Biden for allowing her to access the facility earlier this year but stressed the need to remedy violations against detainees.
Ni Aolain pointed out that the torture of detainees at secret locations known as black sites and subsequently at Guantanamo is the ‘single most significant barrier” to ensuring justice for the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
‘The importance of apology and guarantees of non-repetition to both the victims of terrorism and the victims of torture betrayed by these practices will be no less pressing in the years ahead,’ the report read.
Under US President George W. Bush, the Guantanamo detention facility opened in 2002 to imprison prisoners taken in the ‘war on terror’ following al-Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, assaults on New York City and Washington, DC.
Nearly 800 prisoners were originally kept in the facility. Its prison population has now dropped to 30, with 16 of the remaining convicts being designated as eligible for release by US authorities.
The prison, which is housed at a US military post in Cuba, has a system of military commissions that does not provide the same protections as regular US courts.