Guantanamo Prison Camp

November 2018
Background Information Summaries;11/10/2018, p1
The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was built to hold prisoners from the United States' war on terror. Most of the more than 770 prisoners detained there over the years have been transferred to other countries. However, since January 2011 the number of prisoners has remained at 166, including 86 classified as presenting little or no risk to national security. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the United States (US) established the military prison camp at its naval base at Guantanamo Bay to incarcerate prisoners labeled "enemy combatants." The decision to house them in Cuba was intended to prevent them from exercising legal rights in American courts or courts of US allies. However, the US Supreme Court ruled repeatedly that the prisoners had a right to some form of judicial proceeding. In January 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to close the prison within a year. Plans to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo, either for trial in the US or release to other countries, came to a halt in January 2011 due to opposition from Congress and unstable security conditions in Yemen. In 2013, President Obama renewed his commitment to close the prison, saying he would appoint two special envoys -- one at the Pentagon, one at the State Department -- to oversee the disposition of prisoners.


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