Russian group to visit jailed national in Guantanamo

Moscow, Dec 27: A Russian delegation has plans to visit a citizen held in the US detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba next month, a senior diplomat said Friday.

“The goal is … to visit Russian citizen Ravil Mingazov, who is kept there without a trial and investigation for 10 years already,” Xinhua reported citing Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s envoy for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Mingazov, who has been kept in Guantanamo since October 2002, has never been charged with any crime. But the US believes he was a member of an Al Qaeda-linked Islamic movement of Uzbekistan. He is the only one of the eight Russian citizens who were once held in Guantanamo. The rest were extradited to Russia in 2004.

Noting that the meeting should have taken place long before, Dolgov said they would also “raise the question of closing completely this detention facility, where human rights are violated most seriously”.

He said the delegation could visit the facility Jan 17, but a final confirmation on the date was yet to come from the US side.

The Guantanamo facility still holds 164 detainees, most of whom have not ever been charged.

US President Barack Obama has repeatedly pledged to close it since 2009. In November, he reiterated his commitment.