Friday February 12, 2021
Presidential decree planned
USA prepare to close Guantanamo
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the US is building a prison camp in Cuba to hold suspected terrorists. After the former President Obama had only promised the closure of Guantanamo, the new head of state Biden is now taking on the matter.
Joe Biden’s new US administration is aiming to close the controversial prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. National Security Council (NSC) spokeswoman Emily Horne said the current state of affairs would be considered “in line with our overarching goal of closing Guantanamo.” The NSC will work together with the defense, foreign and justice ministries and coordinate closely with Congress. Two people familiar with the process told Reuters news agency that advisors were discussing, among other things, a presidential decree that he could sign in the coming weeks or months.
President George W. Bush set up the camp in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His successor Barack Obama – under whom Biden served as Vice President – declared the goal of closure, but failed to implement it. Trump reversed this policy shortly after taking office in 2017 and ordered Guantanamo to continue operating in 2018. Forty people are currently held there, most of them for almost two decades without charge or trial.
“Shame on the USA”
It was only in January that UN human rights experts asked the new US administration to close the prison camp in Cuba immediately. The 40 remaining inmates were at risk of dying for reasons of age and the inhumane and cruel conditions of detention, criticized the independent experts who report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “ The very existence of this facility is a shame for the US and the whole international community,” they said.
The then US government opened the camp on January 11, 2002 – around four months after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The US interned suspected Islamist terrorists there who had been apprehended in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Arab countries. The y should not be tried in US courts. Some were innocently denounced, according to lawyers, because people wanted to secure the American bounty on terrorists.
In 2003 there were 700 prisoners there, according to UN experts. Some were held for years. Of the 40 remaining men, only nine were charged or convicted, the experts said. Detaining people indefinitely without giving them the chance to get a fair trial in independent courts amounts to torture. “We mustn’t forget these prisoners.”