Gulf | Bahrain

Guantanamo 'a disgrace to US'

A petition warning that the Guantanamo Bay detention centre is exacerbating anti-American sentiments among Arabs and Muslims, is circulating in the Bahraini parliament. It requests the US Congress to assume a greater role in shutting down the "infamous prison."

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 00:00 June 22, 2006
  • Gulf News

Manama: A petition warning that the Guantanamo Bay detention centre is exacerbating anti-American sentiments among Arabs and Muslims, is circulating in the Bahraini parliament. It requests the US Congress to assume a greater role in shutting down the "infamous prison."

"Your President has repeatedly said that the US is fighting to defend people's dignity and that it adheres to the rule of law. But, and as you may agree, what is happening at Guantanamo is remote from such principles and represents the worst humiliation to the dignity of mankind in modern times. It is closer to the law of the jungle than to the rule of law," the MPs wrote in the petition to be sent to the US Congress soon.

Deputy speakers Shaikh Adel Al Mouawda, a Sunni, and Abdul Hadi Marhoon, a Shiite and MP Shaikh Mohammad Khalid are spearheading the move to get signatures from the 40-member Council of Representatives.

Three of the six Bahrainis initially detained by the US authorities are still held at Guantanamo, amid increasingly calls by activists and campaigners and quiet diplomacy by the government to release them.

"Your country has been claiming it is a leader in spreading justice and respect of human rights. But, regrettably, the blatant violations of human dignity by some individuals in prisons and detention centres in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, and what is happening at Guantanamo will remain a black spot in the history of your country.

"You should move with pride and compassion to lift these injustices," the MPs told senators and representatives.

"We do not need to highlight the pain and suffering of the detainees at Guantanamo and which you can easily visualise when you know about their wish to die. Death has become a mercy to them.

"We wonder what your reaction would be if this brutal behaviour was used on Americans. What would each of you feel if his or her son was a detainee at Guantanamo. If you genuinely respect humanity and if you have self-respect, we urge you to use your powers to put pressure on your government to close this infamous prison which has become a heavy liability for your government.

"It is about time you had historic and brilliant words of wisdom to redress the injustice and lift the shame off your nation," the petition says.

"Your president has repeatedly said that the US was fighting to defend people's dignity and that it adheres to the rule of law. But ... what is happening at Guantanamo is remote from such principles."

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