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Russian human rights commissioner meets Guantanamo’s Russian inmate

January 18, 2014, 23:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Konstantin Dolgov said that Moscow would discuss with American officials how Mingazov could return to Russia or his fate could be decided in any other way

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© AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

MOSCOW, January 18, 22:43 /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov met with U.S. Guantanamo Prison’s Russian inmate Ravil Mingazov on Friday, January 17.

“We could finally meet with Guntanamo’s last Russian inmate Mingazov. We will continue to provide assistance in ensuring his rights,” Dolgov said on his Twitter page on Saturday, January 18. “Our priority is to ensure that the United States release Mingazov as soon as possible and stop the situation where he is deprived of his rights.”

“Our main target of course is our citizen Mingazov. We want to see the conditions of his confinement. It is obvious that his rights have been violated in the grossest way for years. Just like the other almost 200 Gunatanmo inmates, he has no access to fair justice,” Dolgov said.

This is “a violation of the fundamental rules of international law in the field of human rights,” the commissioner said.

He said that Moscow would discuss with American officials how Mingazov could return to Russia or his fate could be decided in any other way so that his rights were respected and his current status of a person deprived of his rights were terminated.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that more than ten years had passed since Moscow had started trying to get access to Mingazov.

Ravil Mingazov was transferred to Guntanamo in 2002, following his arrest by U.S. security services in the house of a Pakistani man who had connections with Al Qaeda. The United States suspected him of having been trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Mingazov denied that.

Mingazov’s release will require the American authorities to show their political will, Dolgov said and confirmed that his release from prison, where he has been held for 12 years without investigation and trial, was “a special priority” for the Russian government.

Replying to a question from ITAR-TASS what the main obstacle to his release was, Dolgov said, “By and large, it boils down to the political will of the American authorities.”

In January 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring the Guantanamo special prison to be closed. However, it is still there and working.

Moscow believes that “the American authorities must close down this shameful place as soon as possible as has been so strongly recommended by numerous international human rights organisations,” Dolgov said.

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