US: Redouble Efforts to Close Guantanamo

Source : http://www.hrw.org

January 12, 2010 The Obama administration should commemorate Guantanamo's eighth anniversary tomorrow by renewing its pledge to close the prison quickly and responsibly, Human Rights Watch said today. Prisoners implicated in crimes should be charged and brought to trial before federal courts, and the remainder should be sent home or resettled in other countries.

The United States brought the first 20 detainees, hooded and shackled, to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba, on January 11, 2002. Despite President Barack Obama's stated commitment to close the prison by January 2010, nearly 200 men remain, most of whom have never been charged with any crime.

"President Obama made Guantanamo one of his signature issues when he pledged on his second day in office to close the detention facility within a year," said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. "Although he is missing that deadline, the administration should intensify its efforts to responsibly repatriate or prosecute those held and shut the prison as soon as possible."

In December, the Obama administration announced that it planned to transfer some detainees from Guantanamo to the Thomson Correctional Center, an Illinois state prison that the federal government intends to purchase.

While speeding the closure of Guantanamo, moving detainees to the United States for continued detention without charge would merely be bringing Guantanamo's fundamental failing to the US mainland, Human Rights Watch said.

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