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Govt Should Speak Out Against Prisoner Humiliation

Government Should Speak Out Against Prisoner Humiliation

Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke wants the Government to speak out against the degrading treatment of al-Qaeda and Taleban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

"We can't run away from the issue because New Zealand had troops alongside the US forces in Afghanistan," said Mr Locke.

"The Geneva conventions say prisoners have to be treated with respect, yet these detainees have been put in cages open to the elements and have had their hair and beards shaved off.

"Pictures of prisoners with blindfolds, earmuffs and masks have led to justified accusations of a form of torture through sensory deprivation.

"We can't accept US claims that they are not prisoners of war. Most were captured on the battlefield."

Mr Locke said if animals were treated in this way in New Zealand, the SPCA would be called in.

"The Bush administration seems to be bent on humiliating prisoners, against whom no charges have yet been laid.

"New Zealand has a moral responsibility to speak out. Our SAS may even have been involved in capturing some of the men. We don't know because of the blanket of secrecy around the operations of the SAS.

"The total secrecy is not justified by security considerations," said Mr Locke. "The US has given a lot of information about what its special forces are doing."

ENDS


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