U.S. Says No Plans to Release Teen Detainees at Guantanamo

The U.S. said today it has no plans to release three teenagers, ages 13 to 15, who have been detained at Guantanamo for more than a year. Even though last August, prison camp commander Brig-Gen. Geoffrey Miller said he would recommend they be sent home.

The U.S. describes their living conditions in a way that makes it sound like they are at summer camp:

The military official said the three were being kept separately from older prisoners in a refurbished house. They shared a large bedroom and there was also a dayroom, a kitchen and a facility where the teens received daily lessons.

"They are being tutored in their own language and are learning other skills. They are being taught to read and mathematics." The official said there was a large yard around the house where the teens played soccer, volleyball and other games.

But lest the picture seem too rosy, consider this: the boys have not been allowed any contact with their families. The U.S. doesn't know if their families know where they are. The boys have no idea what the future holds in store for them.

Jo Becker, advocacy director for children's rights at Human Rights Watch, voiced deep concern the children were still being held and called for their release. "They have been in detention since the early part of last year without any direct contact with their families or knowledge about what is going to happen to them," said Becker.

She appealed to the military to free the detainees so they could be re-integrated with their communities and said there was particular worry about them being separated and detained during the vulnerable teen years.

The U.S. won't discuss how many 16 to 18 year olds are at Guantanamo, but Human Rights Watch says there are some and that they are being housed with adult prisoners. To us, that alone is a human rights violation. Children, and 16 to 18 year olds are children, should never be housed with adult prisoners. Here are some stats:

Children housed in adult jails and lock-ups have been found to be eight times more likely to commit suicide, five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, two times more likely to be assaulted by staff, and 50 percent more likely to be attacked with a weapon than children in juvenile facilities.

< Michael Jackson Hires Co-Counsel | Florida Bar to Investigate Complaints of Improper Questioning of Judicial Applicants >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft