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U.S. general: Detainees treated humanely

By Bob Franken
CNN

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (CNN) -- A Marine Corps general said Wednesday that Afghan detainees are being treated humanely at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, despite the vows by some of them to kill an American before they leave.

"These are not nice people," said Brig. Gen. Michael Leonard, referring to Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who have been brought to the U.S. military facility from Kandahar, Afghanistan. "Several have stated their intention to kill an American before they leave Guantanamo Bay."

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Amid harsh criticism, U.S. officials are defending their treatment of the Taliban and al Qaeda detainees held in Cuba. CNN's Bob Franken reports (January 17)

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The latest group of 30 detainees arrived in Cuba at 2:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, bringing the total number of captives there to 80.

Leonard said the facility, known as Camp X-Ray, is being expanded and will soon be able to hold up to 600 detainees.

While the detainees are being held in outdoor cages surrounded by chain-link fence, Leonard said a modular building to house them should be finished in about three months.

Although the detainees have not been declared prisoners of war, Leonard said, the United States is using the Geneva Conventions as a guideline for their care.

He said each is given a canteen with water, shampoo, toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap and two buckets, one for hygiene and one for washing. He said the detainees also are given two towels -- one for washing and one to serve as a prayer mat.

The general said the detainees are being given three meals a day -- including one "halal" meal, a meal that meets Muslim religious requirements.

The general passed out one of the halal meals, which included such items as potato chips and barbecued sunflower seeds.

Under Islamic religious practices, Muslims cannot eat pork or animals that have not been ritually slaughtered.

Red Cross representatives will be allowed to visit them, officials said.



 
 
 
 


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