Prison at Guantanamo Bay: Obama sends closure plan to Congress
Washington DC: The US administration met the deadline and on Tuesday (23 February, 2016) morning at 10:00 a.m. submitted to the Congress the plan required by the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal 2015, seeking a plan on the future detention and on Guantanamo.
Briefing media on this, a senior administration official informed that President Obama and Secretary Carter have made clear, responsibly and securely closing the detention facility at Guantanamo is a national security imperative. The report presented to the Congress provides a way ahead for responsibly closing the facility while continuing to treat detainees in our custody in a manner consistent with international and domestic law, the official said.
First, according to the official,detainees who have been designated for transfer, have to be responsibly and securely transferred to other countries. Currently, there are 91 people at Guantanamo. Thirty-five are eligible to be transferred and the administration is optimistic that all the 35 will be transferred in the next several months. So it is anticipated that the population will be down below 60 later this year.
The officer said that the second element is continuing to conduct what we call the Periodic Review Board. These are periodic — as the term implies, periodic reviews of our authority to detain an individual and whether they continue to pose a threat to the United States. And if they don’t, then we make them eligible for transfer.
Third, continuing to identify individuals’ dispositions for those who remain designated for law of war detention, including possible prosecution either in Article 3 court, military commissions, or foreign prosecutions.
And fourth and finally, an important focus of this plan, working with the Congress on a location in the United States to securely hold detainees that we cannot transfer at this time to foreign countries, or who are subject to the military commission proceedings.
To summarize the population, the officer said, we you have figures: 91 people; 35 eligible for transfer; 10 are in some phase of the military commission process; and the remainder, which is 46, are subject to law of war detention but are going through the periodic review board process.
Citing the reason for closing the Prison at Guantanamo Bay, the officer said: The reason (why) the President is doing this, finish what we began, which is Guantanamo is a symbol, it’s a negative symbol for our national security. The President has said this, the prior President has said this, many of our generals have told us this. It hurts us with our allies, it inspires jihadists, and it’s time to bring this chapter of American history to a close.