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UN Anti-Torture Panel Calls on US to Close Guantanamo Bay


The United Nations Committee Against Torture says the United States should close its detention facility at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The panel of independent experts Friday, also expressed concern about reports of secret U.S. detention facilities holding suspected terrorists overseas.

In addressing reports of torture by U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.N. panel said the United States should end all forms of torture, investigate allegations promptly and thoroughly, and prosecute those responsible.

Washington has denied torturing detainees, saying the United States believes everyone is entitled to humane treatment, and that freedom from torture is an inalienable right.

White House spokesman Tony Snow Friday noted that President Bush has already said he wants to close the Guantanamo facility, but is waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on whether inmates can face military tribunals. He stressed that the United States has made sure that detainees are provided with food, clothing and other basic necessities, and have the opportunity to worship.

The Bush administration sent a team of diplomats to appear before the U.N. committee earlier this month to defend treatment of foreign terrorism suspects.

The committee's 10 members are Senegal, Egypt, the United States, Chile, Spain, Cyprus, Ecuador, Denmark, Russia and China.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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