WASHINGTON : Guantanamo Bay prison has been open for more than 16 years, and it’s going to remain that way under the Trump administration, President Donald Trump said during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
“Today, I am keeping another promise,” said Trump as he announced his decision to keep the prison, located in Cuba, open.
“I just signed an order directing U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay,” Trump continued.
Under the order, the U.S. maintains the option to keep additional enemy combatants at Guantanamo when lawful and necessary to protect national security. It requires Mattis to recommend criteria for determining the fate of individuals captured by the U.S. in armed conflict.
“We must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants,” Trump said. “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we released.”
The detention center, often referred to as “Gitmo,” opened in January 2002 under former President George W. Bush as a place to detain and interrogate people with suspected links to terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 779 men have been imprisoned at the detention center since it opened. As of September 2017, 41 remain.
Orignally published by INP