EU must press USA to resolve ‘war-on-terror’ legacy
(Brussels, 28 November 2011) As the EU-US Summit convenes in Washington, Amnesty International has urged the European Union to challenge the USA for its continued imprisonment without charge of scores of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and the US decision to use military commissions to try detainees, some of whom risk the death sentence if convicted.
“The EU has an obligation to redouble pressure on the United States to abolish the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and end all trials before military commissions”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions office. “Military commissions can never be acceptable as they don’t meet fair trials standards. Recourse to the death penalty under this system is a violation of the right to life under international law.”
Amnesty International believes the treatment received by Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national who was allegedly held at a secret prison in Poland before being taken to Guantánamo, illustrates the range of human rights violations committed in the name of US counter-terrorism policy, and that accountability is still not being addressed by either the EU or United States. The two parties must cooperate to ensure perpetrators on both sides of the Atlantic are held accountable for crimes committed under the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policy.
Amnesty International has urged the EU to:-
• Challenge US failure to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law committed under the CIA’s counter-terrorism programmes
• Deplore the continued detention without charge or criminal trial of scores of detainees at Guantánamo, the decision to use military commissions to try several of them, and to pursue the death penalty against six of them, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
• Urge the US authorities to abandon military commissions in favour of trials in the US District Court
• Reiterate the EU’s opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances, and urge an immediate US moratorium on the death penalty at federal level
For interviews or further comment, please contact:-
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773