The White House said today that it will start consultations to close the detention center at the US base in Guantanamo, without setting a deadline for completing the process.
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According to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the next step will be a formal “robust” review that will involve the Departments of Defense and Justice in addition to government agencies, some of which have no officials yet appointed by the new president.
“There are many actors, from different agencies, who have to be part of this political discussion about the steps to be taken,” said Psaki regarding the closure of the detention center at the US Navy base in the south of the island of Cuba, which at the time its high point, in 2003, reached 680 inmates suspected of terrorism, and today it has 40.
The target of several controversies, mainly for mistreatment of detainees and prolonged detentions without charge, the detention center had its closure announced in 2009 by former Democratic President Barack Obama.
But the fate to be given to detainees, all with links to international terrorism and to organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, and in particular their possible transfer to US prisons or countries of origin, raised internal opposition and Obama ended the without achieving the objective, although 197 detainees were repatriated during their terms.
Donald Trump, his successor, adopted an opposite speech, promising to even “fill” the prison with “bad guys”, but in reality during his term the number of detainees dropped from 41 to 40 after a Saudi prisoner was released in a war crimes case.
In his Senate confirmation testimony, new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Guantanamo has given the United States “the ability to use martial law arrests that keep enemies off the battlefield”, but that “it’s time to close” the detention center.
The group of detainees in Guantanamo includes 10 men awaiting trial by a military commission, five of whom are accused of participating in planning and supporting the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, but the process has been slow.
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Source: SÁBADO by www.sabado.pt.
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