More youth at Guantánamo than US claimed

UC DAVIS (US) — Documents made public by WikiLeaks indicate 15 juveniles were prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp—three more than the U.S. State Department had publicly acknowledge.

The findings are detailed in a new report and based on analysis by researchers at the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas at the University of California, Davis.

“This new report shows that even more children have been imprisoned at Guantánamo than our earlier research revealed,” says principal investigator Almerindo Ojeda, the center’s director. “This is one more reason for a full, independent, and transparent inquiry into the policies and practices of detention we have engaged in since 9/11.”

A 2008 study by the Guantánamo Testimonials Project found that the U.S. Department of State had under reported by 50 percent the number of juveniles seized and sent to Guantanamo. The State Department subsequently adjusted the number of juvenile detainees from eight to 12.

“This is three more than the 12 the State Department acknowledged to the public after our earlier report on the subject, and seven more than the eight the State Department originally reported to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child,” Ojeda says.

Ojeda and other scholars, as well as human rights specialists, attorneys, and retired military officers, have repeatedly called for investigation into post-9/11 U.S. detention policies and practices. Referred to as the Davis Group—as it was convened by the human rights center and the law school—their 2009 work can be found at

Thirteen of the one-time juvenile detainees who were identified in the latest WikiLeaks documents have been released. Of the other two, one is the first child in history to have been convicted of war crimes, according to Ojeda. The other is reported to have killed himself in his Guantanamo cell at age 21. Photos of the individuals are also on the website.

WikiLeaks began to release classified documents for all 779 Guantanamo prisoners in April.

The volunteer-staffed Guantánamo Testimonials Project also gathers accounts of torture of Guantánamo Bay prisoners found in news media reports, e-mails, diaries, and other sources worldwide.

The project has published a book, The Trauma of Psychological Torture, that contains the proceedings of a September 2006 conference sponsored by the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, which drew psychologists, psychiatrists, neurobiologists, lawyers and historians from nine institutions in the U.S. and Germany.

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