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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

July, 2004

Amnesty Slams Gulf Rights Record

The US-led "War on Terror" has had a "profound and far-reaching impact" on human rights in the Gulf region, says an Amnesty International report.

The organization says Gulf states, along with the US, show a "disturbing disregard for the rule of law and fundamental human-rights standards."

It says a region whose rights record had been improving was now using the war as a cover for repression.

The by-products of the war are torture and extra-judicial killings, it says.

Amnesty says the US, particularly at its detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, has kept people without charges or access to a lawyer, ill-treated them and denied them visits or correspondence with their families.

The impact of Guantanamo Bay is particularly felt in the Gulf region, it says, because more than a third of inmates came from Gulf countries.

Of all the Gulf states, only Kuwait has been allowed to send a delegation to the prison because of its close ties with the US, Amnesty says.

It quotes Yemen's Minister for Human Rights, Amat al-Aleem al-Suswa, as saying: "We are unable to do anything for the families of the detainees-it is all confusion and no one seems to know where it starts or where it ends."

The report says hundreds of people have been detained during crackdowns on Islamic militants justified by the war on terror.

It says the worst abuses include torture and ill-treatment, and apparent extra-judicial killings.

The report draws on the experiences of many people detained during the "War on Terror" and the ordeals of their relatives left at home, who are often given little or no information about their whereabouts and well-being.

An example is Nouf al-Shammari, whose first husband died at the hands of Iraqi security forces during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990, and whose second is now detained in Guantanamo Bay.

She described herself as "repeatedly crushed by injustices" and the uncertainty over her husband's future.

 

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