Bishop Pates Urges Defense Secretary Hagel to Conduct Review, Take Action for Guantanamo Detainees

June 25, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The Secretary of Defenseshould "conduct a careful review of conditions for detainees" at Guantanamo Bayand work to release the 86 who have been cleared, said the chairman of theCommittee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops. In a June 25 letter, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa,urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to "make good on the President's commitmentto close this facility that has become a symbol of indefinite detention withouttrial."

"Detainees have the right to a justand fair trial held in a timely manner," wrote Bishop Pates. "The indefinitedetention of detainees is not only injurious to those individuals, it alsowounds the moral reputation of our nation, compromises our commitment to therule of law, and undermines our struggle against terrorism."

Bishop Pates cited reports of forcedfeedings of prisoners on hunger strike as one reason for his concern. Hesuggested addressing "the conditions of despair that have led to this protest."

Bishop Pates also noted the USCCB'sstatement in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, that "We must not only act justlybut be perceived as acting justly if we are to succeed in winning popularsupport against terrorism."

The letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/torture/upload/Pates-ltr-to-DOD-Hagel-re-Guantanamo-2013-06-25.pdf

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Keywords: Bishop Richard E. Pates, Des Moines, Iowa,Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, Pentagon, Cuba, Guantanamo Bay,International Justice and Peace, USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, force feeding, hunger strike, release, detainees, PresidentBarack Obama, close, indefinite detention

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