On 11 January 2002, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp saw the arrival of its first detainees. Today marks 20 years of its inception, and the detention camp has become a matter of great controversy and controversy over the past two decades.
The offshore prison, located at a US Navy base in southern Cuba, was built during the administration of George W. Bush in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since 2002, approximately 780 prisoners have been held at Guantanamo Bay. At its peak in June 2003, the detention camp held 684 detainees.
Despite President Joe Biden’s commitment to closing down Guantanamo Bay by the end of his administration, the Pentagon is developing a new military courthouse at the facility.
How many prisoners are in Guantanamo Bay?
According to Pentagon data seen by newsweek, currently 39 inmates are still in prison, most of whom have never been charged with a crime. Of them, 12 have been charged with war crimes, an additional 10 are awaiting trial and two other prisoners have been convicted.
An additional 13 prisoners have been recommended for overseas transfer while another 14 are eligible for a periodic review board. All 14 of those have been reviewed since the beginning of the Biden administration. Afghan prisoners represented the largest proportion of detainees at the center in the past two decades, 203 of whom remained in prison.
During four different presidents, Guantanamo Bay has become infamous for frequent allegations of torturing detainees.
Defense Department spokesman Lt Col Kenneth L. Hoffman told Greeley Tribune: “Atrocities and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited for all US personnel in all locations. We recognize that the law has been violated by US personnel in the past. However, all allegations of abuse will be thoroughly investigated.” and those who have failed to comply with these treatment standards and will be held accountable.”
Human rights organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have spoken out against the alleged ongoing use of excessive interrogation methods.
It is to be noted that at least 9 prisoners had died behind bars, with an additional 30 having died after being transferred from the detention centre.
In a statement, Daphne Avitar, director of the Human Rights Program with Security at Amnesty International USA, said: “It’s about the people still over 40 in Guantanamo – it’s also about crimes under international law committed in the past 19 years and a constant lack of accountability for them.
“It’s also about the future, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and strive for lasting justice.”
Will Guantanamo Bay Prison Ever Close?
For a long time there is a push to close the detention center. Soon after taking office in January 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13492 ordering the closure of Guantanamo Bay. However, Obama was unable to close the center during his administration.
In January 2018, President Donald Trump signed a contrasting executive order to keep the offshore prison open.
About 540 prisoners were released during the Bush administration, 200 more were released under President Barack Obama, one prisoner was released during the Donald Trump administration and Joe Biden released an additional captive so far Is.
President Biden has fulfilled the promise of his predecessor Democrats and vowed to close Guantanamo Bay.
Hoffman said: “The Biden administration is dedicated to a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo facility. To that end, the National Security Council has been working with the Departments of Defence, State and Defense.” continues to work closely with Justice and other departments and agencies.”
Biden expands center despite vows to shut down Guantanamo
The Pentagon is building an additional new courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, the second in the facility. The new $4 million dollar extension is designed to allow two military judges to conduct court proceedings and war crimes trials from 2023.
However, unlike the existing courtroom, the new courtroom will be closed to the public, raising further concerns over transparency in the prison camp. Those hoping to follow proceedings in the new courtroom will only have access to delayed video broadcasts in an entirely different building.
Detention facilities also represent a substantial financial drain for the US administration. In 2015, it was reported that running the Guantanamo Bay camp cost the US Department of Defense approximately $445 million.
In a 2016 Homeland Security hearing, Congressional Representative Benny Thompson said: “In addition to these annual costs, an additional $200 million will be needed to maintain the facility in the future. Between $140 million and $180 million annually will result from the facility’s closure.” Hope to have savings.”
In February 2021, new York Times revealed that it costs approximately $13 million per prisoner to keep Guantanamo Bay operating, reportedly making it the most expensive detention facility in the world. In contrast, the annual cost of inmate detention in high-risk federal prisons is approximately $78,000.