President Obama has released his administration’s plan to close Guantánamo Bay after 14 years of detention without trial and torture at the prison camp – and 7 years after he promised to close it.
Since 2002, 779 prisoners have been imprisoned at Guantánamo, including at least 15 children. The vast majority of them were sold to the US when the military was offering large bounties for capture of terrorism suspects – typically, around $5,000 for each man. 8 of the men held at the prison camp have been convicted by a Guantánamo military commission, and just 1 man has been prosecuted in a US federal court. No one has been held accountable for the illegal detention and abuse at the prison camp.
Cori Crider, Reprieve’s director and Guantanamo attorney, comments on Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo.
“For most of this Presidency, ‘work with Congress’ has been code for ‘ain’t gonna happen,’ so it’s far from plain whether the President really aims to force this plan through. If he does, while he is right to try to close Guantánamo, the plan has various problems.
It leaves the door open to hold cleared detainees on U.S. soil without charge or trial, which is contrary to everything that we stand for. Our founding father, Alexander Hamilton, would have been shocked to see us holding men cleared for years by six federal agencies, on American soil without charge or trial.
Hamilton knew that our liberty dies when we sweep human beings under the rug. All the cleared must be released. None should be brought to the U.S. A supermax is no place for them. Reviews for people in ‘indefinite detention’ should be sped up. Those facing charges must be put before the same regular courts that try terrorism suspects every day. Only then will we have kept the promise recited by every American school child each morning: to defend liberty and justice for all.”
WATCH – Cori Crider’s final visit to Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo, before he was finally released to the UK.