Britain's top attorney calls for U.S. to close Guantanamo

WORLD DIGEST

May 11, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

LONDON -- The British government's chief legal adviser said yesterday that Guantanamo Bay had become a symbol of injustice and called for the U.S. base to be closed.

"The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, of liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol," Attorney General Peter Goldsmith told the Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies, an independent policy forum.

The comments were the strongest criticism of the U.S. detention camp by a senior British official.

There are an estimated 490 prisoners at Guantanamo, which opened in 2002 to house terrorism suspects rounded up during the war in Afghanistan. They have been held as "enemy combatants," a term international human-rights advocates argue is a dodge of the Geneva Conventions that protect prisoners of war.

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