Oil Report

Norway rejects Guantanamo probe of Aker Kvaerner

OSLO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Norwegian prosecutors on Thursday rejected calls from human rights activists for an investigation of engineering group Aker Kvaerner's AKVER.OL activities at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the company said.

The Norwegian section of Amnesty International had alleged the company may have contributed to human-rights abuses by supplying services to the base, and asked law-enforcement officials in January to conduct an investigation.

The base in eastern Cuba is the site of a U.S. military prison where terrorism suspects have been held for years without trial after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

The group’s Kvaerner Process Services unit carried out construction and maintenance work, including plumbing, for the U.S. military at Guantanamo from the early 1990s to 2005.

Aker Kvaerner said the contract ended in autumn 2005, and the Kvaerner unit involved no longer exists. The company has repeatedly rejected all allegations by Amnesty International.

“Aker Kvaerner is content that the public prosecutors have once again decided that there will be no investigation,” Aker Kvaerner Chief Executive Martinus Brandal said in a statement.

The case was dropped earlier by the Oslo police and Oslo prosecutors, said the company, which is a large Norwegian supplier of engineering services to the oil and gas industry and other sectors.

Amnesty had asked prosecutors to look into the matter after a law firm found in an assessment for Amnesty that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were mistreated in a way that is against Norwegian law.

Rights groups and some governments, including U.S. allies, have called on the United States to shut the Guantanamo prison.