Red Cross Expresses Alarm Over Detainee Health at Guantánamo Bay

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — A senior official with the International Committee of the Red Cross issued a uncommon assertion of alarm on Friday about deteriorating well being circumstances and insufficient preparations for getting old prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

The US army should do a greater job of offering look after prisoners who’re “experiencing the signs of accelerated getting old, worsened by the cumulative results of their experiences and years spent in detention,” Patrick Hamilton, the top of the Red Cross delegation for the United States and Canada, stated within the assertion.

In March, Mr. Hamilton and different delegates made a routine quarterly go to to the detention facility, the group’s 146th because the wartime jail opened in January 2002. He stated the detainees’ “bodily and psychological well being wants are rising and turning into more and more difficult.”

“Consideration should be given to adapting the infrastructure for the detainees’ evolving wants and disabilities, in addition to the foundations that govern their every day lives,” stated Mr. Hamilton, who had final visited the jail in 2003, when 660 males and boys had been held there. Today, 30 detainees stay.

Red Cross officers typically don’t remark publicly on the circumstances at the detention facility, preferring to maintain their communications with the US authorities confidential.

Ordinarily, quarterly visits embody conferences with the detention facility commander, who’s presently a brigadier common with the Michigan National Guard. Members of the delegation, which typically contains a physician, additionally meet with detainees, interview those that will quickly be launched and ship messages from household.

Mr. Hamilton stated army officers at Guantánamo had been “providing some momentary options” to the prisoners’ growing bodily and psychological well being wants.

He urged the Biden administration and Congress to, as a precedence, “discover ample and sustainable options to deal with these points.”

Lawyers for a number of the prisoners, notably those that spent years in harsh, secret CIA custody earlier than Guantánamo, have stated detainees have mind harm and issues from blows and sleep deprivation, broken gastrointestinal methods from rectal abuse and points probably linked to extended shackling and others. confinement.

One of probably the most debilitated prisoners is Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who’s in his 60s and is the jail’s oldest detainee. He has undergone six operations on his backbone and again at Guantánamo Bay since 2017 by Navy medical groups who had been airlifted to the bottom.

His lawyer, Susan Hensler, stated Friday that Mr. Hadi was lately identified with “extreme osteoporosis” that seemingly contributed to issues in his most up-to-date operation, in November. Doctors inserted metallic inside his again, however the machine slipped and screws grew to become free, she stated. Navy medical doctors plan to convey a group to the bottom this 12 months for an additional surgical procedure, utilizing larger screws.

The Red Cross assertion comes lower than a month after a bunch of United Nations investigators made public a criticism they’d introduced to the United States on Jan. 11 about well being care provisions at the jail, and for Mr. Hadi specifically.

Mr. Hamilton stated the United States wanted to undertake a “extra complete method” to detainee well being care. “All detainees should obtain entry to ample well being care that accounts for each deteriorating psychological and bodily circumstances — whether or not at Naval Station Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere. This contains instances of medical emergencies.”

“At the identical time, consideration should be given to adapting the infrastructure for the detainees’ evolving wants and disabilities, in addition to the foundations that govern their every day lives,” he stated.

Government workers, who weren’t approved to be recognized by identify, have complained about air con issues at the jail for detainees via the month of Ramadan, which is ending.

The army had no fast touch upon both the Red Cross concern or the air con difficulty.

The Red Cross official additionally urged the Pentagon to grant its prisoners longer, extra frequent cellphone calls with members of the family, “taking into account the entire absence of in-person visits.”

Lawyers have stated detainees are typically entitled to talk with members of the family 4 instances a 12 months.

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