UN torture investigator wants to visit Guantanamo

The United Nations` investigator on torture said Tuesday he had asked the US military to allow him to interview inmates as a condition for a visit to the Guantanamo prison.

United Nations: The United Nations` investigator on torture said Tuesday he had asked the US military to allow him to interview inmates as a condition for a visit to the Guantanamo prison.

UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said he was invited in 2012 to visit the prison for terror suspects at the US military facility but that the Pentagon would not allow him to meet with the inmates, even in the presence of witnesses.

"I got an invitation to Guantanamo that I could not accept because the terms were not acceptable, and I`m insisting on being invited to Guantanamo," Mendez told a news conference.

Opened in 2002, the prison has housed 779 inmates detained in connection with the US war on terror, many of whom were subjected to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

There are currently 149 inmates at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mendez said the invitation from the Pentagon was to tour the facility and to meet authorities there, but that he would not be allowed to question the inmates, even in the presence of US officials.

US President Barack Obama, who has pledged to shut down Guantanamo, has persuaded several countries, mostly in Europe, to take in prisoners and acknowledged that the detainees suffered ill treatment.

"We tortured some folks," Obama said in August. "We did some things that were contrary to our values."

The UN special rapporteur for torture is also in negotiations with US authorities to visit solitary confinement cells in US prisons on the mainland following a request that he said was "pending for a quite a long time now."

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