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Current Affairs

Guantanamo Bay’s prisoners

Date: 22 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The US administration led by President Biden is laying the groundwork to release prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

 

Details

  • If everything goes according to plan, more than half of the prisoners being held in the centre could soon be released and the facility can be shut down in future.

  • The review board has recommended that more than half of the 39 men held indefinitely in the centre can now be safely released to their homelands or sent to another country.

 

Reasons for decision

The Biden administration has been facing flak from human rights activists for not doing more to close Guantanamo Bay.

 

The future situation

  • At present, about 20 prisoners are deemed eligible for release or transfer and one due to soon complete a sentence.

  • Some prisoners could start leaving soon. These are subject to conditions if their own countries would accept them without imposing restrictions.

  • The detention centre is on its way to shut down completely but it will take the rest of the detainees to be released.

  

Guantanamo Bay

  • The Guantanamo Bay detention centre was opened in 2001 by President George W bush after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent invasion of Afghanistan.

  • It would host prisoners suspected of having links to al-Qaida or the Taliban for interrogation. During its peak, about 680 prisoners were held here.

  • The government had said that detainees were the “worst of the worst” but majority of them were low-level militants having no connection to terrorism and were subsequently discharged.

 

Criticisms

  • The torture faced by prisoners was rallying point for international criticism from American allies and propaganda for enemies.

  • A Periodic Review Board was set up for reviewing prisoners and determining if anyone could be released without posing a threat to national security.

  • Many US senators have opposed the closure of facility as it would threaten national security. They consider it a legal place to detain terrorists.