The Pentagon is expected to release a report on shutting down Guantanamo Bay.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base which fronts on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. At the time of its establishment in January 2002, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said the prison camp was established to detain extraordinarily dangerous people, to interrogate detainees in an optimal setting, and to prosecute detainees for war crimes.
US Officials have said the report will detail US prison sites that could house the last Guantanamo detainees, enabling President Barack Obama to fulfil a key election pledge.
Currently, 112 inmates remain at Guantanamo Bay, which has housed about 780 detainees since the start of 2002.
US sites considered reportedly include the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and a federal prison complex in Colorado that is already home to Egypt’s Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, and “Unabomber” serial murderer Ted Kaczynski.
Current and former detainees have reported abuse and torture, which the Bush administration denied. In a 2005 Amnesty International report, the facility was called the “Gulag of our times.” In 2006, the United Nations called unsuccessfully for the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to be closed. In January 2009, Susan J. Crawford, appointed by Bush to review DoD practices used at Guantanamo Bay and oversee the military trials, became the first Bush administration official to concede that torture occurred at Guantanamo Bay on one detainee.
In 2011, President Obama signed the 2011 Defence Authorisation Bill which placed restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to the mainland or to foreign countries, thus impeding the closure of the facility. In February 2011, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates said that Guantanamo Bay was unlikely to be closed, due to opposition in Congress. Congress particularly opposed moving prisoners to facilities in the United States for detention or trial.
In January this year, during the 2015 State of the Union address, Obama stated Guantanamo Bay “is not who we are” and that it was “time to close Gitmo”. A little less than a week later, The Huffington Post published an article by Tom Hayden arguing Guantanamo Bay would be best closed by returning the base to Cuban sovereignty, arguing it is “where Guantanamo Bay belongs historically.