To the Editor:
Col. Morris D. Davis paints a rosy picture of Guantánamo Bay and the military commissions. I traveled there three weeks ago; the Guantánamo I came to know is starkly different from the place he describes.
The commissions fall well short of international standards, including by permitting the use of evidence obtained under coercion. The likelihood is high that someone on trial before the military commissions will have been coerced during his detention.
The Defense Department’s own investigations document that detainees have been kept awake all night, subjected to loud music and extreme hot and cold temperatures, and beaten.
Regardless of actual conditions, the arbitrary deprivation of liberty is inherently inhumane. When people can be held without being charged, and denied real opportunities to challenge their detention, America’s image and authority in the world are undermined.
Guantánamo and the military commissions are unworthy of a nation that prizes justice and aspires to lead the world.
Law and Security Program
Human Rights First
New York, June 26, 2007