VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Roberto Tucci appealed to the United States to respect the fundamental rights of the Taliban prisoners of war.
The cardinal made his appeal following Amnesty International´s report on the “legal limbo” in which prisoners captured in Afghanistan find themselves. The prisoners are now at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba.
The cardinal, 80, is president of Vatican Radio´s Management Committee. Until 2001, he personally prepared all of John Paul II´s international trips.
Cardinal Tucci told Vatican Radio: “In regard to the treatment of Taliban prisoners, who will be tried in military courts and who, according to Amnesty International, do not have the possibility of having a lawyer to handle their defense, I see the danger that, little by little, Western countries will forget the principles according to which they believe they are acting in justice.”
Along with this operation of struggle against terrorism, these countries “should demonstrate, precisely, that they are not in the same line of, and do not accept, their adversaries´ ways of behaving,” Cardinal Tucci added.
“We must pay close attention: Today the Muslim countries are with the United States and against terrorism, which the Pope himself has denounced as a crime against humanity,” he continued. “However, this is the attitude of the leaders: We do not know very well what the masses think, the Muslim populations of these countries.
“Information gathered by different sources lead one to understand that this action is seen as an aggression of the rich West against a world, let us say, that is less wealthy. Therefore, it is necessary to be extremely cautious, because if hatred is fostered with a spirit of vengeance, the fundamentalists are given the possibility to have more power, and the terrorists the opportunity to recruit other terrorists more easily.”
The cardinal added: “Precisely in these days it is emphasized with lament that neither Osama bin Laden nor Mullah [Mohammed] Omar have been captured. Moreover, it is known that U.S. intelligence sources receive worrying news on the rapid reconstruction of those terrorist networks that in the beginning seemed to have been, if not dismantled, at least hard hit.”