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Guantanamo testimonials project forces revised Pentagon count of juvenile detainees

JURIST Hotline
November 18, 2008

Dr. Almerindo Ojeda [Director, Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas]: "The UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas (CSHRA) recently posted an analysis of miltary and diplomatic testimonies showing that the State Department had underreported, to the United Nations, the number of children seized and taken to Guantanamo by a 50 percent margin. In response to subsequent inquiries from the Associated Press (AP), the Pentagon spokesman revealed, for the first time, that the U.S. had revised its count of juveniles held at Guantanamo from eight to twelve, thus confirming, in detail, the results of the CSHRA study.

In its response to the AP inquiries, the Pentagon added that the U.S. did not intentionally misrepresent the number of children taken to Guantanamo, and that "it remains uncertain the exact age of many of the juveniles held at Guantanamo, as most of them did not know their own date of birth or even the year in which they were born". It should be emphasized, however, that the CSHRA analysis was based on precise information already recorded by the Department of Defense (dates of birth, in-processing dates, official announcements, and medical reports). There remain, to be sure, uncertainties regarding the dates of birth of many Guantanamo prisoners. But taking them into consideration could only add to the total of twelve already acknowledged by the Pentagon.

The CSHRA analysis is part of the CSHRA's Guantanamo Testimonials Project. The goals of this project are to gather testimonies of prisoner abuse in Guantanamo, to organize them meaningfully, to post them online, and to preserve them there in perpetuity. As of now, the project has gathered, organized, and posted hundreds of testimonies from a wide variety of sources."

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