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Calls for the Closure of Guantánamo

American Civil Liberties Union

“Congress needs to act now to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison and all secret federal government facilities where individuals have been tortured or abused, and make sure these horrors never happen again."

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Amnesty International

“Guantánamo Bay has become a symbol of injustice and abuse in the US administration’s “war on terror”. It must be closed down.”

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Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

"An institution like Guantanamo can and should not exist in the longer term."

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Baltasar Garzón, Spanish Judge

''A model like Guantanamo is an insult to countries that respect laws […] It delegitimizes us. It is a place that needs to disappear immediately.''

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Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General

"I understand that today is the 5th anniversary of Guantanamo’s prison. Like my predecessor, I believe that prison at Guantanamo should be closed. I also remember that President Bush himself has said that he would like to close it."

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Church of England Synod

"while welcoming the release of most U.K. prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, [the Church of England Synod moves to] deplore the continued holding of prisoners there without charge or due process and encourage Her Majesty's Government to continue to use all available means to press the United States administration to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and restore the full application of the rule of law."

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Cindy Sheehan, US Peace Activist

"What is most important is the inhumanity that my country is perpetrating in Guantanamo […] I think it is time for people to step up and try to stop this"

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Colin Powell, former US Secretary of Defense

''If it was up to me, I would close Guantánamo. Not tomorrow, but this afternoon. I'd close it, […] And I would not let any of those people go […] I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system. The concern was, well then they'll have access to lawyers, then they'll have access to writs of habeas corpus. So what? Let them. Isn't that what our system is all about?''

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Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ireland

"The issue of this facility in the long term, medium and short term indeed is that it should be closed."

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Desmond Tutu, South African Archbishop

Archbishop Tutu has joined in the growing chorus of condemnation of America's Guantanamo Bay prison camp [and] says the camp is a "horrendous subversion" of the law.

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Dianne Feinstein, US Senator, D-Calif.

"Guantanamo Bay has become a lightning rod for international condemnation," Senator Feinstein said. "This has greatly damaged the nation's credibility around the world. Rather than make the United States safer, the image projected by this facility puts us at greater risk. The time has come to close it down."

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Edward Kennedy, US Senator, D-Mass.

"Closing Guantanamo makes sense […] It's become a symbol of U.S. hypocrisy on human rights."

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European Parliament

“[The European Parliament] calls on the US Administration to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and insists that every prisoner should be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law and tried without delay in a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, impartial tribunal.”

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European Union Foreign Ministers

“Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Austria, Denmark’s Per Stig Möller said the envoys agreed that the United States should close the detention camp as soon as possible."

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Five Former Secretaries of State

Five former U.S. secretaries of State said […] the next president should move quickly to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That single act would improve America's dismal reputation in the world immediately, agreed Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

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Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-Terrorism Chief

We cannot accept torture in any way. That's against all values of the European Union, as are any lapse in human rights and methods like the ones used in Guantanamo […] I think we will have to help the Americans close Guantanamo as soon as possible.

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Sister Helen Prejean, Author, Dead Man Walking

"Guantanamo Bay is an abhorrent aberration of everything that my country ought to be about"

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Human Rights First

"Human Rights First calls for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo as a necessary first step to bring U.S. policy back under the rule of law and to restore the capacity of the United States to lead the world in the protection of human rights and the preservation of human dignity."

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Human Rights Watch

"Guantanamo should simply be closed," [Human Rights chief Kenneth Roth] said. "I mean it has become a symbol of injustice. It is a scar on America's reputation around the world. And there is no reason wh[y] anyone should continue to be held there. People should either be tried before a fair and proper tribunal or they should be released."

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Icelandic Parliament

The resolution, which had been adopted unanimously by Icelandic legislators including the foreign minister and prime minister, condemned the "inhumane" treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo and urged the U.S. government to close the camp.

34 International Associations of Jurists

As leaders of the associations of jurists identified below, we are calling for the immediate closure of the U.S. prison facility at Guantánamo Bay. Few governmental operations in democratic countries have shown such a profound disrespect for the rule of law. Guantánamo Bay has come to signify injustice for some at the hands of the powerful.

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Jimmy Carter, Former US President

Former president Jimmy Carter called Tuesday for the United States to close its detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to demonstrate its commitment to human rights.

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John Conyers, US Representative, D-Michigan, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee

"[Will I sponsor a resolution to close Guantanamo?] Absolutely. We have an obligation, based on what we've learned, to close that place down and also check out our role in other prison camps in Iraq."

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John McCain, US Senator, R-Az

"I would immediately close Guantanamo Bay, move all the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) and truly expedite the judicial proceedings in their cases".

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John Murtha, US Representative, D-Pennsylvania

"We're thinking of putting conditions that you have to close Guantánamo […] Worldwide, I think Guantánamo is a blot on our credibility and it should be closed […] We're looking at a schedule that's reasonable to get those people out of there and close it down.''

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Jose Saramago, 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature

Jose Saramago on Wednesday urged US president-elect Barack Obama to 'tear down the shame' represented by the US prison camp in Guantanamo, Cuba […] a 'concentration and torture camp'.

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Joseph R. Biden Jr., US Senator, D-Del

"A leading Senate Democrat [Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.)] said yesterday that the United States needs to move toward shutting down the military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

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Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General

"I think sooner or later there will be a need to close Guantanamo. I think it will be up to the government to decide, and hopefully to do it as soon as is possible."

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Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General, United Kingdom

“The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has called for the closure of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay [...] In a speech in London, he said the camp had become a symbol of injustice and its existence was 'unacceptable'”

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Manfred Nowak, U.N. Special Envoy on Torture.

“Said last month that Europe should help the United States close Guantanamo, explaining: "You can't only criticize without then assisting them in solving the problem."

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Martin Scheinin, U.N. Special Raporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights

"As to the closure of Guantanamo, I do recommend getting rid of this legal black hole as soon as possible."

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New York Times

"Oh yes, and it is time to close the Guantánamo camp. It is a despicable symbol of the abuses committed by this administration (with Congress’s complicity) in the name of fighting terrorism."

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Detention camp at Guantanamo Bay affects the image of the United States, and OSCE recommends terminating the detention facility, said Belgian Senate President Anne-Marie Lizin at the OSCE session in Kiev.

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Patrick Leahy, US Senator, D-Vt.

"Guantanamo is an international embarrassment to our nation, to our ideals, and it remains a festering threat to our security"

Pedro Almodóvar, Spanish Film Maker

"Almodovar told the private Europa Press news agency he was protesting 'the barbarities they have been committing in Iraq for the past four years.' 'We're here for peace and for the closure of Guantánamo because it is a disgrace for civilization,' he added.

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Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Interior Minister, Saudi Arabia

"Saudi Arabia said yesterday it backs international calls to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, where around 450 suspects including some 90 Saudis are being held outside the jurisdiction of international law. 'Of course we support this and hopefully all the Saudis there will be returned to their homeland,' Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz told reporters

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Psychologists for Social Responsibility

"Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) joins many other human rights organizations, and several heads of state, in calling for the closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. PsySR extends its call to include any other prisons maintained by the United States of America where prisoners are incarcerated beyond the bounds of international human rights law."

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State Bar of Montana

"The State Bar of Montana passed a resolution on Friday urging President George W. Bush and Congress to close the de- tention camp at Guantanamo Bay and restore prisoners' right to due process."

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United Nations Committee Against Torture

The State party should cease to detain any person at Guantánamo Bay and close this detention facility, permit access by the detainees to judicial process or release them as soon as possible, ensuring that they are not returned to any State where they could face a real risk of being tortured, in order to comply with its obligations under the Convention (Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture, 36th Session, Paragraph 20).

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United Nations Human Rights Experts

“Five independent United Nations human rights experts today called on the United States to immediately close the Guantánamo Bay detention centre following three suicides there, citing a report they issued three months ago alleging inhuman conditions amounting to torture and the "profound effect" on detainees' mental health.”

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