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Lawyer claims US 'torturing' Guantanamo prisoners

The US military has tortured terrorist suspects held without charge at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, a lawyer representing some of the suspects claims.

Richard Bourke, who has been working for nearly two years on behalf of dozens of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, says American officials are using old-fashioned torture techniques to force confessions out of prisoners.

Mr Bourke says the methods clearly fell under the definition of torture under international conventions.

"They are engaging in good old-fashioned torture, as people would have understood it in the Dark Ages," he said.

Mr Bourke told ABC radio in Australia his claims were based on reports leaked by US military personnel and from descriptions by some detainees.

"One of the detainees had described being taken out and tied to a post and having rubber bullets fired at them. They were being made to kneel in the sun until they collapsed," he said.

Media reports many detainees have attempted suicide and are suffering mental health problems backed up claims of harsh treatment, he said.

About 660 prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere are being held at Guantanamo without charges or access to lawyers - some since January 2002. The US government rarely comments on activities at the prison.

© Associated Press

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