Rumsfeld and the 'Ghost Detainees'

Turns out it was not just one detainee that Rumsfeld ordered held from the Red Cross, but at least two detainees.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld admitted Thursday that he ordered the secret detention of at least two prisoners captured in Iraq so that they could be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, a move that some legal experts say may have violated the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions, which outline proper treatment of prisoners of war, forbid holding prisoners incommunicado and require that their identities be registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"It is clearly conduct in violation of international law," said Deborah Pearlstein, the director of the U.S. Law and Security Program of Human Rights First, a New York-based advocacy group formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

Human Rights First today issued a new report on the Bush Administration's prisoner violations, titled "Ending "Secret Detentions" (pdf) charging that it held:

....an unknown number of people in secret detention facilities around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, the British possession of Diego Garcia and on U.S. warships at sea.

Even Rumsfeld admits 7 months may be too long to secretly hold a detainee:

Rumsfeld said he thought international law provided some wiggle room. "I think it's broadly understood that people don't have to be registered in the first 15 minutes," he said. "What the appropriate time is, I don't know. It may be a lot less than seven months."

Jeanne D'Arc at Body and Soul has more.

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