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Hope for the imminent demise of the notorious prison Guantanamo

23 August 2016

Can the Guantanamo prison finally be closed down? Now that Obama’s final term is about to end, his election promise to close down the controversial detention center is more urgent than ever before.

Recently 15 inmates were transferred to the United Arab Emirates and 20 more detainees have been approved for transfer as well. This leaves 40 people remaining in Guantanamo. Seven of them were charged for their connection with specific terrorist attacks on US targets – most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a prime architect of the 9/11 attacks. The residual is considered to be too dangerous to be released. Obama’s plan for final closure contains a call for their transfer to maximum-security prisons in the United States of America. Despite all the efforts, this call seems in vain as the Republican dominated Congress has passed a law which prohibits transferring detainees to the United States for any reason.

The prison, that costs a hefty $445 million a year, has long been a smear on the reputation of the United States of America. Most detainees have been held without charge or trial for more than a decade. They have been exposed to interrogation tactics that constitute ill-treatment, as Amnesty International USA reported.

‘I think we are at an extremely dangerous point where there is a significant possibility this is going to remain open as a permanent offshore prison to hold people, practically until they die. It weakens the U.S. government’s hand in arguing against torture and indefinite detention,’ said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International’s U.S. director for security and human rights.

The remaining 40 prisoners cannot appear in a court of law or a military tribunal as the evidence against them was either obtained through torture or provided by secret informants. Due to these controversial methods the inmates are in a legal limbo. Consequently, the prospect is that they will stay in jail indefinitely.

The upcoming presidential election can be defining for the future of Guantanamo prison. Hillary Clinton is a staunch opponent of the detention center while Donald Trump wants to keep it open. President Obama is still hopeful that he will be able to close Guantanamo down during his presidential term and currently takes the utmost efforts to do so.

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