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Russia urges soonest possible closure of US Guantanamo prison

January 19, 2014, 10:21 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

“To call things by their proper names, this is a shameful page in the United States’ history," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law said

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WASHINGTON, January 19, 10:07 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia continues to insist on the soonest possible closure of the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, which mainly keeps persons detained during the U.S. anti-terror operations in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, said.

On Saturday, Dolgov together with other representatives of the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office and Justice Ministry visited the Guantanamo Bay prison. Russian officials met with Ravil Mingazov, the only Russian prisoner in the detention camp. Mingazov was transferred to Guantanamo 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.

Moreover, the Russian delegation held talks with officials from the U.S. Department of State, Pentagon and Department of Justice.

“This trip has once again confirmed our principled position that coincides with approaches of the overwhelming majority of members of the world community - states, international human rights mechanisms and non-governmental organizations, including those of the United States - that the Guantanamo Bay prison should be closed as soon as possible,” he told reporters at the Russian embassy in the U.S.

“To call things by their proper names, this is a shameful page in the United States’ history. This is a place, where for many years justice has been most roughly trampled and where human rights and freedoms have been violated,” Dolgov said.

The soonest possible release of Mingazov from the Guantanamo Bay prison remained “an undoubted priority” for the Russian authorities that planned to pay “greater attention” to that problem and in general “to the problem of adequate observance of legal rights and interests of Russian citizens by the U.S. authorities.”

“There are not a few problems,” the Russian diplomat said. “We had an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions at the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Justice… We raised issues stressing the need to return Russian citizens Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko home and inadmissibility to wheedle Russian citizens on the territories of third countries for their further extradition on charges that remained unknown to us and that the U.S. authorities did not make clear to us officially. It is inadmissible to defame Russian citizens, including those who hold prominent positions in our public life, in our country’s cultural life, and to introduce sanctions on more than doubtful grounds without any preliminary notification and in violation of the presumption of innocence principle.”

Businessman Viktor Bout was jailed by the U.S. for 25 years over alleged arms trafficking and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison for alleged drug trafficking.

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