Annan gives backing to appeal for Guantanamo closure

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said tonight the US should close its Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects as soon as possible, backing a key conclusion of a UN-appointed panel.

Annan said he did not necessarily agree with everything in the report but he did support its opposition to people being held in perpetuity without being charged and given a chance to explain themselves in a court.

“I think sooner or later there will be a need to close the Guantanamo, and I think it will be up to the government to decide, and hopefully to do it as soon as is possible,” the Secretary-General told reporters.

The report, summarising an investigation by five UN experts, called on the US government “to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention centre and to refrain from any practice amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.

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