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French MP calls for closure of Guantanamo

© Photo courtesy Jean-Jacques Candelier

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-03

French legislator Jean-Jacques Candelier published an open letter Friday calling for the “immediate” closure of the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than half the inmates have joined an almost three-month-long hunger strike.

A French legislator published an open letter Friday calling for the “immediate” closure of the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than half the 166 remaining prisoners have joined an almost three-month-long hunger strike.

Jean-Jacques Candelier, a Communist member of a leftist coalition in the National Assembly (lower house), addressed his comments to the US embassy on his Facebook page.

“Guantanamo is not necessary for the security of the United States,” he wrote. “This prison hampers counter-terrorism cooperation and is a recruiting tool for extremists, in the words of President Obama himself.”

Obama is facing renewed pressure to fulfil his 2008 campaign pledge to close the detention facility as 100 of Guantanamo’s 166 inmates continue to refuse nourishment. Twenty-one detainees are being force-fed with nasal tubes, a practice the UN high commissioner for human rights said this week could be classified as “torture” and in contravention of international law.

Candelier’s letter went on to question why Obama was caving to resistance from the opposition Republicans in Congress.

The US president told a White House news conference on Tuesday that Congress needed to strike a deal on closing Guantanamo, which he said existed in a legal "no man's land".

"I continue to believe we have to close Guantanamo,” Obama said. “I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe.”

"It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts. It is a recruiting tool for extremists.”

"It needs to be closed," he said.

Date created : 2013-05-03


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