Guantanamo Bay closure: White House says plans to close detention camp are in final stages

Reports say that the Department of Defence would have to move prisoners within 30 days if the decision to shut the camp was made

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The Independent US

The White House has said that it is in the final stages of drafting a plan to close the notorious American military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The detention centre, which became known for its harsh and sometimes cruel treatment of prisoners, is located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. It became home to many suspected terrorists who were detained during the War on Terror, many of whom had been transported there from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Barack Obama pledged to close down the camp during his first Presidential campaign in 2008. Now, seven years later, his promise is coming close to being fulfilled.

Speaking to the press, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Obama administration hoped to "short circuit" opposition from Republicans in Congress, who have previously blocked attempts to close the prison.

 

The New York Times reported that White House national security adviser Susan Rice had met with Defence Secretary Ash Carter, and said he would have 30 days to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo if it was closed.

Republicans have said that moving Guantanamo prisoners to other countries may eventually lead to their freedom, and the chance that they could again try to harm the USA.

Clifford Sloan, a former Obama envoy charged with closing the prison, said he thought it was "very unfortunate" that the closure of the prison "has become a partisan issue."

There are currently 116 prisoners at the prison. As well as being a point of criticism from organisations like the Red Cross, the United Nations and the European Union, mood in Washington has also largely turned against it, due to fears it is used as a propaganda tool by America's enemies in recruitment.

Earnest said closure plans would be shared with lawmakers once they are complete.