Thursday, January 29, 2015

“High-Value” Guantanamo Detainees Speak with Families for the First Time


WASHINGTON – Two of the 15 “high-value” detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, locked in a special top-security facility, were recently able to speak to their families for the first time, Pentagon sources told Efe.

The U.S. Department of Defense is relaxing its measures at the prison and is willing to make this unprecedented event a regular one as long as it is “reasonable.”

“We have concluded that increasing family contact for the High Value Detainees can be done in a manner that is consistent with both humanitarian and security interests,” Lt. Col. Myles Caggins III, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday.

The two inmates who could talk with their families via video-conferencing were Abu Faraj al Libi, a senior al-Qaeda operative and a key player in locating Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is awaiting a death penalty trial for his alleged involvement in the 2000 attack on the missile-destroyer USS Cole in Yemen, according to The Washington Post newspaper.

The calls were strictly screened and the declarations of both parties monitored to ensure that classified information was not divulged.

In reference to the “near-real-time” Skype-like chats, the Pentagon spokesperson added, “We continually seek to go beyond a minimalist approach to humane treatment, and we endeavor to enhance conditions, consistent with security concerns.”

The so-called prisoners of “high-value,” including several who have been charged with plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, are deprived of some of the privileges granted to other prisoners such as periodic calls with their families.

The move to allow these 15 prisoners to communicate with their loved ones comes in response to a call by numerous international organizations for the basic rights of detainees to be respected.


No comments: