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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 11:50 GMT
Life in a Guantanamo cell
The treatment of suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters detained at the US Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba has become the subject of international controversy.

Human Rights Watch described the 1.8m by 2.4m open-sided wire cells in which the men are being held as "a scandal".

There was also concern that the detainees were seen handcuffed, blindfolded and masked. Later images showed them being manacled and clamped into leg irons on trolleys to be wheeled to interrogation huts.

The US says these restraints are only used during transit. They also say that with three meals a day, medical care and pens to write home with, the prisoners are living in better conditions than they did before they were captured.

Camp officials say the prisoners have been "co-operative" and are much more relaxed than when they were first transported to the base.

Each prisoner has been given:
  • US army standard-issue 2cm-thick foam sleeping mat, one blanket, two buckets, a one quart canteen
  • Two orange boiler suits, one pair flip-flops
  • Two bath towels, one for washing, one for use as a prayer mat
  • A washcloth, toothpaste, soap, shampoo
  • A copy of the Koran

    Prisoners are served three meals a day - all "culturally appropriate":

  • Breakfast - typically bread, cream cheese, an orange, a pastry, a roll, a bottle of water
  • Lunch - typically a box of cereal, two cereal bars, a packet of peanuts, one packet crisps, one packet raisins, a bottle of water
  • Evening meal - typically white rice, red beans, a banana, bread, a bottle of water.

    The detainees' daily routine:

  • Breakfast followed by shower opportunity and personal time
  • Doctor visits to address any medical issues
  • Lunch followed by shower opportunity and personal time
  • Exercise period
  • Mail call - pens and paper are provided for limited time, letters may be written under supervision, all pens are collected afterwards
  • Dinner followed by shower opportunity

    Typical weather:

  • Sunny with temperatures ranging from 22C at night to around 28C maximum during the day
    American sheriff, Joe Arpeio
    "They are going to be treated great, down in cuba"
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