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RF frustrated by offer to visit Guantanamo without meeting Russian inmate

May 08, 2013, 19:08 UTC+3

ussia is dissatisfied with the U.S. proposal to visit the Guantanamo special prison without meeting its Russian inmate Ravil Mingazov

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MOSCOW, May 8 (Itar-Tass) - Russia is dissatisfied with the U.S. proposal to visit the Guantanamo special prison without meeting its Russian inmate Ravil Mingazov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said on Wednesday, May 8.

“The agreement on the visit was reached in principle with the American side late last year. However in April of this year U.S. Department of State officials told us that Mingazov was not wishing to meet with ‘any Russian delegation’. We were invited to make an ‘exploratory trip’ to the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo without meeting the Russian citizen who has been held there in legal vacuum for more than ten years,” Dolgov said.

“Clearly, this approach cannot satisfy the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of which we have informed Washington. Amidst reports about the deteriorating situation at Guantanamo, the absence of access to the Russian citizen raises questions here. We hope that our American colleagues will help arrange our visit to Ravil Mingazov,” the commissioner said.

“We continue to believe that the U.S. authorities should finally take effective measures to close the special prison in Guantanamo as soon as possible in accordance with numerous recommendations issued by international human rights organisations,” he said.

Dolgov said earlier that Mingazov’s rights should be ensured in full.

“A new hunger strike announced by inmates of the U.S. special prison in Guantanamo over their conditions that do not meet international standards has led to new escalation of the situation. This resulted in clashes between the inmates and prison guards who used arms,” Dolgov said in April.

The incident evoked “serious concern [in Moscow], also because Russian citizen Ravil Mingazov has been held in this prison for more than ten years without trial and investigation,” the commissioner said.

“We stress once again that his legitimate rights and interests must be ensured unfailingly,” he said.

The abovementioned events “are yet another proof that the existence of the special prison in Guantanamo is at odds with the fundamental human rights norms and standards, compliance with which is so rigorously advocated by Washington in the international arena,” Dolgov said.

Moscow “continues to believe it necessary for the American authorities to finally take effective measures to close the Guantanamo prison as soon as possible as has been repeatedly recommended by international human rights organisations,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier he was hoping to visit the special prison at Guantanamo shortly in order to find out Mingazov’s condition there.

Lavrov made the statement after talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 10.

“We are preparing the visit. I hope it will take place shortly and we will be able to see the condition of our citizen Mingazov,” the minister said.

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.

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