USA: Former Guantánamo Bay Detainees Deserve Justice in Italy, Says Amnesty International

Press Release
December 9, 2009

USA: Former Guantánamo Bay Detainees Deserve Justice in Italy, Says Amnesty International

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Former Guantánamo Bay Detainees Deserve Justice in Italy, Says Amnesty International

Detainees Must Not Be Deported to Tunisia and Must Receive Fair Trials in Italy

(Washington) Amnesty International urges the Italian government to ensure that two recently released Guantánamo Bay detainees are lawfully detained and receive fair trials in Italy. The organization emphasizes that they must not be sent back to Tunisia where they would be at risk of torture.

Tunisian nationals Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri are suspected of terrorism-related crimes in Italy prior to their detention at the US detention center at Guantánamo Bay.

Mabrouk and Nasseri were taken into custody upon arriving in Italy last month after spending seven years at Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial.

"Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri endured years of illegal detention in conditions that amounted to ill-treatment," said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counterterrorism in Europe. "They will be in urgent need of appropriate psychological and medical services."

The Italian government should take immediate measures to make sure that these men are not subject to further human rights violations."

Italian authorities should evaluate the evidence against the men to ensure that they receive fair trials. Any testimony extracted under torture or ill-treatment must not be used in criminal prosecution. Additionally, the government should not withhold evidence on the basis of national security and should provide compensation

"If the Italian authorities were involved in intelligence sharing with the US or other activities that contributed to the men’s unlawful detention and other violations of their rights at Guantánamo Bay, then they should be held accountable," said Hall.

Amnesty International also urges the Italian authorities to guarantee that Mabrouk and Nasseri will not be expelled or deported to Tunisia or to any other country where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

In recent years, the Italian government has attempted and successfully deported a number of Tunisian nationals to Tunisia, in some cases in violation of rulings issued by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Court has also ruled that Italy violated the absolute ban on returns to risk of torture through these actions

"The Italian government’s disregard for requests from the European Court of Human Rights to halt deportations to Tunisia while the Court considers the case is very disturbing," said Hall

The authorities must guarantee now that they will observe the absolute ban on torture and not send Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri back to Tunisia where they will be at risk of such abuse."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org