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Guantanamo Bay prisoners show signs of ‘accelerated aging’: ICRC | Human Rights News

The Guantanamo prisoner-of-war camp has become a brutal symbol of America’s so-called “war on terror”.

Prisoners held by the United States for years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility are showing signs of “accelerated aging”, a senior International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) official said.

Patrick Hamilton, head of the ICRC delegation in the United States and Canada, said on Friday that “the physical and mental health needs are growing and becoming more challenging” for those still held at Guantanamo Bay.

“We call on the U.S. government and Congress to work together to find adequate and sustainable solutions to these problems,” Hamilton said in a statement.

“Action should be a priority.”

The Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba was established by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002 to hold foreign suspects after the 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed some 3,000 people.

The camp has become a symbol of the brutality of America’s so-called “war on terror” because of harsh interrogation methods that critics describe as torture.

Hamilton made the comments on inmates’ health after visiting the facility in March after a 20-year hiatus. He said he was “shocked by how those who remain in custody today experience symptoms of accelerated aging that are exacerbated by their experience and the cumulative effects of years of detention”.

He called for detainees to receive adequate physical and mental health care and to be in more frequent contact with their families.

A Pentagon spokesman told Reuters that the Pentagon is “currently reviewing the report.”

When U.S. President Joe Biden takes office in 2021, Guantanamo is holding 40 prisoners. The Biden administration has said it wants to close the facility, but has yet to come up with a plan. Some 30 detainees remain in prison.

Two Pakistani brothers who had been held without trial in Guantanamo Bay for more than 20 years were released by the United States in February and returned home. Abdul, 55, and Mohammad Rabbani, 53, have been reunited with their families after being formally questioned by Pakistani authorities.

Hamilton called on Washington to address the fate of the detainees, urging action to remove those who qualify.

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