The end for Guantanamo: Obama signs closure order


Today, Thursday, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order that says that the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba will be closed within a year.

The executive order says: “The detention facilities at Guantanamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order”

It says anyone still in detention when the prison is shut “shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country or transferred to another United States detention facility”.

Banning torture

Obama signed also two other orders. The second executive order will formally ban torture by requiring the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations, essentially ending the Bush administration’s CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.

A third executive order, according to the officials, will order a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases. Obama is also ordering a review of the current conditions at Guantanamo to ensure that the men are being held in conditions that meet the Geneva Convention.

Separate orders are also expected to direct the CIA to shut its remaining network of secret prisons around the world.


The prison camp Guantanamo Bay was established in 2002.

After Guantánamo

As the closure of Guantánamo Bay is now imminent, a lot of questions emerge, mostly regarding the future of the detainees. The main question is what will happen to them, especially as some governments have denied that the detainees are citizens of those countries. Switzerland has announced its willingness to accept former prisoners, and Portugal has urged the rest of Europe to do likewise. It has been suggested that the prisoners are moved to mainland U.S. , but the idea has not been very popular with the public.

The move was also opposed by the Bush administration. Some of the 245 prisoners are considered too dangerous to be freed, among them a large number from Yemen. Around 50 people might face trial, and as new president Barack Obama has promised more humane policies, his administration will have to decide how that will be carried out.

Read more about what will happen with the detainees at Reuters and BBC

The problems about the closer of Guantanamo Bay is being discussed on CNN.

Facts about Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility

– The Guantanamo Bay Detention facility was established in 2002 at a U.S. Naval Center in Cub – The camp is a United States detention center operated by Joint Task Force Guantánamo.

– The first inmates became some 20 men detained in Afghanistan on suspicion of belonging to Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organisation.

– Some 700 prisoners would eventually be transferred to the site. Five years on, approximately 300 men of more than 30 nationalities remain.

– President Bush has termed the prisoners as “enemy combatants”; men whom former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described as “the worst of the worst”.

– The detainment areas consist of three camps in the base: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which has been closed). The facility is often referred to as Guantánamo, or Gitmo.

Read more aboat the Guantanamo prison camp at BBC

Obama is determined to close the prison camp within a year.


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