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US Criticized by Amnesty International - 2002-05-28

Amnesty International has expressed concern about the fate of the more than 1,200 people detained in the United States since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

In its annual report released in London Tuesday, the human rights organization criticized new U.S. measures implemented since September 11 which have resulted in the indefinite detention of foreigners, some held without charge or access to legal counsel. The report criticized new regulations that have broadened the government's power to detain foreign nationals on the basis of mere suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity, and new powers to monitor communications between lawyers and their detained clients.

The report also criticized President Bush's decision to try some suspected al-Qaida terrorists before military commissions, saying such trials would violate international fair trial standards.

The human rights group accuses the United States of violating international law in its detention of hundreds of foreign suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without declaring their status.

The Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, William F. Schulz, says the U.S. government needs to recognize that its own record cannot be compromised if it intends to remain a global leader on human rights.

This year's report also repeats last year's criticism of the use of the death penalty in the United States.

It says 66 people were executed in the United States in 2001, putting it behind China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in the list of countries with the most executions for that year.