Convention standards that set a code of conduct an treatment for those imprisoned during wartime will apply to some of the Guantanamo Bay detainees, but not all. Although the Taliban fighters will be treated in accordance to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. will not officially declare the detainees “Prisoners of War.”
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer explained that the treaty covers Taliban fighters in U.S. custody because Afghanistan signed the 1949 Geneva Convention treaty.
“Al-Qaida is an international terrorist group and cannot be considered a state party to the Geneva Convention,” Ari Fleischer said. “It will not change their material life on a day-to-day basis. They will continue to be treated well, because that’s what the United States does.”
The U.S. has drawn international criticism for its treatment of the detainees, who are being held in 8-foot-by-8-foot cells, and are undergoing interrogation. According to the Geneva agreement, a prisoner cannot be forced to give information other than their name, rank and serial number.
The U.S. has declined to provide information on prisoners’ origins, except to say they come from more than two dozen countries. Australia, Britain, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Yemen have said they have citizens in the group of detainees.
President Bush’s decision came Thursday afternoon as a plane carrying more 28 more detainees arrived at Camp X-Ray. There are now 186 prisoners being held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Six of the detainees were on stretchers when they arrived. All wore orange jumpsuits, goggles and shackles.
American troops recently finished 320 new cells in preparation for the arrival of more detainees.
CIA missile hits senior al-Qaida
As more detainees arrived in Cuba, word of a successful missile attack earlier this week broke in the news media. A “Predator” missile fired by remote control from a pilotless CIA drone aircraft reportedly struck a group of senior al-Qaeda members in southeastern Afghanistan, wire services quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying.
According to the sources, the missile hit a group of men near the Zawar Khili cave complex in the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan.
The attack took place on Monday night, and is thought to have killed at least one senior al-Qaida member and possibly several others. Pentagon officials have said bad weather in the region has prevented a mission to identify bodies.