Obama delivers Guantanamo closure plan to Congress

Obama delivers Guantanamo closure plan to Congress

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] delivered his plan to close Guantanamo Bay [text, PDF] to Congress on Tuesday. This plan comes seven years after Obama first announced he planned to shut down the prison [JURIST report] before the end of his presidency. Under the proposed plan, detainees not fit for US prosecution or deportation would be transferred to a yet-undisclosed detention facility in the US. The plan also places a priority on transferring detainees to their home countries when possible, or resettlement in third party countries. The plan states that “closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is a national security imperative. Its continued operation weakens our national security by furthering the recruiting propaganda of violent extremists, hindering relations with key allies and partners,
and draining Department of Defense resources.”

Currently, 91 detainees remain in Guantanamo Bay, and 34 await resettlement in foreign countries. In November the US Senate passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) [text, PDF], which prohibits Guantanamo detainees from being transferred into the US. Obama signed the bill into law, despite the fact that it will delay his plan to close the prison. The NDAA comes after the Department of Defense said [JURIST report] they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force (GRTF) was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order [text, PDF] to review the status of all detainees. There have been multiple detainees released from Guantanamo recently, following reports that 17 were scheduled for release last month [JURIST report].