Wednesday, June 08, 2005

'Unlimited Recreation Time' For 'Freed' Men

Yesterday, Reuters published a story about 15 Guantanamo prisoners who were freed more than two months ago but are still locked up because "the United States has been unable so far to arrange for them to return to their home countries."

Although the fifteen men are no longer being held as "enemy combatants" they remain in captivity. They won their freedom on March 29th but there is still no word on when they will be released.

The Pentagon isn't saying much. Their names haven't been released and their nationalities haven't been disclosed. The circumstances of their wrongful capture haven't been revealed and the amount of time they spent in prison has also been kept secret.

The men are being kept as prisoners because the Bush Administration is concerned about their future safety.

"The United States has made it clear that it does not expel, return or extradite individuals to other countries where it believes that it is more likely than not that they will be tortured or subject to persecution. This is U.S. policy as well as U.S. law," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico, a Pentagon spokesman."

But, not to worry, all is well for the men whose unjust sentences have been unjustly extended because of compassionate conservatism.

"In the meantime, the 15 men have been segregated from the general inmate population and placed in a lower-security area that "allows them a communal style of living with shared living and dining areas, and unlimited recreation time," said Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, another Pentagon spokesman."

There's no word on whether the men have even been able to contact their families or meet with Red Cross representatives. What the men are allowed to do during their "unlimited recreation time" also remains a mystery.

Reuters' Will Dunham notes that 520 detainees from over 40 countries are currently being detained at Guantanamo Bay, and since the prison opened in January of 2002, "only four have been charged." And, in total, 272 have been granted their release.

Air Force Major Michael Shavers claims that "[t]he bottom line is that DoD (Department of Defense) has no desire to hold detainees longer than necessary" but that's hardly been proven the last three years.

After all, if any of these men have been tortured during their imprisonment, now would not be the most opportune time for their stories to be heard.

Would it?


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