MIAMI (CBS4) – South Florida Congressman Allen West, R-Plantation left for Cuba Monday to tour the United States prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports that West, a Tea Party favorite,  will join four other congressional members for the tour.

During Monday’s trip to the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba, West will “tour the military prison there, investigate detainee treatment and review the process by which suspected terrorists are tried through the military court system,’’ said West spokeswoman Angela Sachitano.

The identity of the other congressional members on the trip will be revealed once they return, according to a committee spokesman.

The freshman congressman heads to the prison camp with a unique perspective.

West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and veteran of the Iraq war, was reprimanded in 2003 for what prosecutors called the torture of an Iraqi prisoner during an interrogation.

West was fined $5 thousand after an Army investigation found him guilty of firing a gun near a man’s head in order to extort information, according to CNN.

Supporters called him a hero, but military prosecutors said his actions amounted to torture, CNN said. The Army investigation ruled West’s behavior did not merit a court martial, according to the Herald.

As of this weekend, the Pentagon was holding 172 captives at Guantanamo, 168 of them without charges and four convicted of war crimes.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)


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