Wednesday 4 January 2017

Trump Says No More Guantanamo Releases


Newly US president-elect Donald Trump says there should be no more prisoner releases from the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield," Trump wrote on Twitter.

President Barack Obama has sought to close the prison since he entered office in 2009, but has been unable to carry out the plan in the face of opposition from Congress.

Obama announced renewed plans for closing the facility earlier this year and in November indicated he would release more prisoners in the final weeks of his term in office, which ends on January 20.

"I think I would expect at this point additional transfers to be announced before January 20," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told a media briefing on Tuesday.

Earnest says Trump's attitude towards the issue will not factor into the Obama administration's decisions on transfers in Obama's final days in office.

"He'll have an opportunity to implement the policy that he believes is most effective when he takes office on January 20," Earnest added.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International called for a rally in Washington on January 11, Guantanamo's 15th anniversary, to remind Obama of his promise to close the facility.

"Amnesty International USA is mobilising its 1.2 million grassroots supporters and all others who stand for human rights to tell President Obama that Guantanamo cannot be left to president-elect Trump," said Margaret Huang, executive director of the organisation's US branch.

"We are incredibly concerned about human rights in the upcoming Trump administration ... President Obama must act boldly now and do all he can in the time left to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo," she added.

The population at the prison has gradually decreased in light of the president's long-standing goal of closing it.

It currently holds 59 prisoners, down from 105 at this time last year following the last prisoner release on December 4, but many detainees have not been formally charged.

Twenty-three prisoners have been cleared for release by the Periodic Review Board, a committee made up of representatives of several US government departments which says they present no meaningful threat to the security of the US and can be returned to their home country or another country.

But 10 prisoners at Guantanamo have been charged with crimes, and the US military commission has ongoing proceedings against them.



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