Gitmo Gulag: US flayed over ‘illegal’ indefinite detention

A "non-compliant" detainee is escorted by guards after showering inside the U.S. military prison for "enemy combatants"  (AFP Photo / John Moore)
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has blasted the US detention facility in Cuba, where 171 suspected terrorists are being held in indefinite custody without legal representation, as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

In a statement posted on its website Sunday, the ministry said inmates are in a “legal vacuum” unprecedented in modern history and indicative of a broader trend of behavior that also exists in Afghanistan.

"The prison had 779 non-POW inmates in the past decade, and approximately 600 of them were freed after having served a long time without indictment. Eight inmates died, and six were convicted by military commissions," the ministry said. "A total of 171 inmates remain in the legal vacuum and have no clue as to what their future holds."

"The situation is unprecedented in modern history and considering that some 3,000 people are confined in similar conditions in Afghanistan, it serves as an indication of crude violations of international law by the United States.”

The Foreign Ministry also criticized the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed into law by US President Barack Obama on December 31, which includes a provision allowing indefinite military detention – even of US civilians – without trial.

The US leader said he signed the act “despite having ‘serious reservations’ about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) slammed Obama for giving indefinite detention the green light.

“President Obama's action…is a blight on his legacy, because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.”

The ACLU said it will continue to “fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

America’s first black president pledged to close Guantanamo Bay as one of his first acts in office. However, despite enjoying a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, Obama caved in to Republican demands that the inmates remain confined in Cuba, while denying them a civil trial.

By signing NDAA into law, Obama further complicated the task of closing the highly controversial facility, which Amnesty International has dubbed “the Gulag of our times.”

"On the one hand, it (the NDAA) prescribes the US Defense Secretary on ways to develop official procedures of regulating its operation. On the other, it bans the financing of the process of closing the facility and introduces restrictions on the transfer of inmates to third countries without the notification of the Congress," the Foreign Ministry statement reads.

In a human rights report released in December by Russia’s Foreign Ministry, the United States came up short, cited for violations on both the domestic and foreign fronts.

“The situation in the United States…is far from the ideals proclaimed in Washington," the report said. “The incumbent administration continues to apply most of the methods of controlling society and interfering in the private lives of the American people that were adopted by the special services under George Bush on the pretext of combating terror.”

The report went on to condemn “the exterritorial application of US legislation by the US administration,” which “seriously harms Russian-US relations.”

Robert Bridge, RT