Thursday, April 18, 2013

White House blames Congress for Gitmo prison staying open

Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:34PM

The White House on Monday blamed Congress for preventing the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention prison amid a hunger strike and riots at the camp.

President Obama “remains committed” to closing Guantanamo Bay, something he said he would do in his first week in office in 2009, White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted.

“It is the president’s view that facility ought to be closed”, Carney said. “We have taken steps processing detainees, transferring them to third countries, but the obstacles to closing Guantanamo Bay have been raised by Congress”.

Violent riots broke out at one of the prison's camps this weekend after military authorities decided to end communal housing, instead moving prisoners to individual cells.

The Pentagon said the decision was made after detainees covered windows and surveillance cameras, a move that coincided with a hunger strike being staged by dozens of prisoners. At least one prisoner was injured by a rubber bullet in the clash with guards on Saturday.

Saturday's violence has refocused attention on the administration’s failed attempt to close the prison in Cuba. The Hill


The Center for Constitutional Rights lists a few basic facts about Guantanamo, which are worth recalling:

779 men have been brought to and held in Guantanamo since January 2002, all of whom were Muslim.

604 men have been transferred from Guantanamo.

166 men remain imprisoned at Guantanamo.

92 percent of the men ever held in Guantanamo, according to the U.S. government, are not “al-Qaeda fighters”.

86 men have been cleared for release from Guantanamo but remain in detention, including 56 men from Yemen.

46 men are slated for indefinite detention without charge or trial. The U.S. government says they will not be prosecuted or released.

22 or more prisoners were under 18 when captured.

12 or more men fear torture or persecution in their countries of nationality. These men will remain in detention until other countries offer them safe havens and a chance to rebuild their lives.

10 years or more is the length of time most men have been held at Guantanamo without charge or trial.

9 men have died in Guantanamo.

0 senior government officials, including former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney, have been held accountable for the wrongful detention and torture at Guantanamo. Common Dreams



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