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Bush says he would like to close Guantanamo

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060507/ts_nm/bush_guantanamo_dc Bush says he would like to close Guantanamo By Noah Barkin 2 hours, 48 minutes ago BERLIN
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2006
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      Bush says he would like to close Guantanamo

      By Noah Barkin 2 hours, 48 minutes ago

      BERLIN (Reuters) -
      President George W. Bush said he would like to close
      the U.S.-run prison at Guantanamo Bay -- a step urged
      by several U.S. allies -- but was awaiting a Supreme
      Court ruling on how suspects held there might be

      "Of course Guantanamo is a delicate issue for people.
      I would like to close the camp and put the prisoners
      on trial," Bush said in comments to German television
      to be broadcast on Sunday night. The interview was
      recorded last week.

      Human-rights groups have accused the United States of
      mistreating Guantanamo detainees through cruel
      interrogation methods, a charge denied by the U.S.

      They also criticize the indefinite detention of
      suspects captured since the military prison was opened
      in 2002 at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, as part of the
      Bush administration's war on terrorism.

      Bush was asked by the German public television station
      ARD how the United States could restore its
      human-rights image following reports of prisoner

      "Our top court must still rule on whether they should
      go before a civil or military court," he said.

      "They will get their day in court. One can't say that
      of the people that they killed. They didn't give these
      people the opportunity for a fair trial."

      The quotes were translated by Reuters from a German

      The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end
      of June on whether military tribunals of foreign
      terrorist suspects can proceed.

      Bush's comments were a reiteration of long-standing
      U.S. policy, Frederick Jones, spokesman for the White
      House National Security Council, said in Washington.

      "The United States has no intention of permanently
      detaining individuals, that is not our goal. We want
      to see all these individuals brought to justice," he
      said, whether in their home countries or in the United

      Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, however, has
      dismissed calls for the prison to be closed.

      "Every once and a while someone pops up and gets some
      press for saying 'Oh let's close Guantanamo Bay.'
      Well, if someone has a better idea, I'd like to hear
      it," Rumsfeld said in a February speech to the Council
      on Foreign Relations.

      The United States has 480 detainees at Guantanamo and
      has freed or handed over to their home governments a
      total of 272. The Pentagon has said it has no interest
      in holding anyone longer than necessary but that it
      has been unable to arrange for some to return to their
      home countries.

      The Pentagon says the detainees come from 40 countries
      and the West Bank, with the largest number from Saudi
      Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen.

      In a report last week for the U.N. Committee against
      Torture, Amnesty International said torture and
      inhumane treatment were "widespread" in U.S.-run
      detention centers, including Guantanamo Bay.

      The United States defended its treatment of foreign
      terrorism suspects in a hearing before the committee
      in Geneva on Friday, saying it backed a ban on

      (Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria in
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