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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 04:28 GMT 05:28 UK
Powell urges Guantanamo closure
Colin Powell
Mr Powell said the prison was doing more harm than good to the US
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell has called for the immediate closure of the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Speaking on US television, Mr Powell said detainees held there should be transferred to prisons in the US.

He also called for the abolition of the military tribunal system, saying terror suspects should face trial under existing US federal laws.

In 2003, Mr Powell made the case for the war against Iraq to the UN.

"If it were up to me I would close Guantanamo not tomorrow but this afternoon," Mr Powell told US NBC's Meet the Press television programme.

"Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America's justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open and creating things like the military commission."

About 380 detainees are held at the prison, which was opened by the US government in 2002 to hold foreign terror suspects captured during the war against the Afghan Taleban and al-Qaeda.

A high-security facility at the Guantanamo US base in Cuba, it is not subject to normal US court rules.

The inmates, regarded as "enemy combatants", are not given the same rights as prisoners-of-war.

Many countries have called for the camp to be closed.

UK prime Minister Tony Blair - a staunch ally of US President George W Bush - has called it an "anomaly" that should be dealt with "sooner or later".

Clips from Colin Powell's interview

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