GENEVA, (Reuters) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expects soon to see 14 terrorism suspects switched from secret CIA jails to Guantanamo, but the visit will not be this week as first thought, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Washington has told the Geneva-based humanitarian agency that it can have access to the 14, who include the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 suicide plane attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but no date has been set.
“It is definitely going to take place,” said Vincent Lusser, an ICRC spokesman, referring to the visit. “It is not going to be this week, but I think it will happen within the next 10 days,” he added.
The detainees, who also include two other al Qaeda leaders, Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah, arrived at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba on Sept. 4 from undisclosed locations.
U.S. President George W. Bush has designated them as eligible for military trials on potential war crimes charges.
The United States had previously refused to admit the existence of secret CIA prisons, which have been widely condemned by human rights officials and organisations.
Washington has also attracted criticism from rights groups over conditions at the Guantanamo Bay camp, which it opened in 2002 to house foreign terrorism suspects.
But it has been allowing visits there by the ICRC in accordance with the Geneva conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.