US torture at Guantanamo 'increasingly repressive'

The Red Cross has accused President George Bush's administration of overseeing the intentional physical and psychological torture of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. It also accused doctors and medics of liaising with interrogators in what was a "flagrant violation of medical ethics".

The Red Cross has accused President George Bush's administration of overseeing the intentional physical and psychological torture of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. It also accused doctors and medics of liaising with interrogators in what was a "flagrant violation of medical ethics".

In an extraordinary confidential report to the US authorities, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the military guards and interrogators at the prison deliberately used psychological and physical coercion that was "tantamount to torture". It said the treatment it had witnessed had been increasingly "refined and repressive".

The report by the Red Cross - the only independent organisation permitted to visit the prisoners - was written after a visit by its inspection team in June. It said it discovered a system designed to break the will of the 550 prisoners - four of them British citizens - through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes [and] use of forced positions".

It added: "The construction of such a system whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture."

The ICRC refused to confirm the authenticity of the report yesterday, the contents of which were reported by the New York Times. While the organisation previously criticised the treatment of prisoners at the camp, it said it could only ensure its continued access to such prisoners around the world by insisting its comments remained private.

"The contents of the ICRC's representations and reports are confidential and for the exclusive attention of the relevant detaining authorities," it said in a statement. "The ICRC uses its exchanges with governments to make clear its concerns and recommendations regarding the situation in places of detention and to demand changes when necessary. Guantanamo Bay is no exception."

But while the report is remarkable for the force of its language, the allegations it makes are not new. Earlier this year, four British prisoners who had been released without charge from the jail after more than two years, compiled a detailed report that alleged inmates were subjected to a regime of Abu Ghraib-style torture, abuse and sexual humiliation.

Louise Christian, a London-based lawyer who represents two of the four Britons still being held, said last night: "I welcome this report but I wish it had come earlier. I know that Martin Mubanga [one of the prisoners] has complained of torture and I know that Feroz Abbasi [another prisoner] says he has been tortured and subjected to religious and sexual humiliation. All these stories are very consistent with one another." She added: "I hope the US government will stand up and take some notice. This is a scandal that will not go away."

The ICRC report also alleges doctors have been assisting interrogators by providing them with information about the mental health of inmates and their vulnerabilities. The Britons released in March claimed that the treatment carried out was carefully choreographed to have maximum impact. Michael Ratner, director of the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit group which has filed various lawsuits on behalf of prisoners, said: "This report is remarkable ... [What is happening] is a serious violation of international criminal law.

Larry Di Rita, a spokesman for the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said that the Red Cross officials had "made their view known". "It's their point of view [but it is not shared by the administration]," he said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?