White House Prepares to Relocate Some Gitmo Prisoners to US Soil

White House Prepares to Relocate Some Gitmo Prisoners to US Soil © Shane T. McCoy

22:20 27.07.2015(updated 01:34 28.07.2015) Get short URL

Part of the Obama administration’s draft plan for the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention center calls for some detainees to be transferred to prisons across the United States.

Lisa Monaco, one of President Barack Obama’s top national security aides, said on Saturday that the United States would expedite the transfers of 52 detainees cleared for resettlement in other countries, Reuters reported.

The proposal, which the White House will soon send to Congress, calls for the remaining inmates at the US naval base in Cuba to be brought to the United States to “Supermax” or military prisons for trials or continued military detention, Monaco said.

Many of the 116 detainees that remain at Guantanamo have been held for more than a decade without charge or trial.

Now, with 18 months left in office, President Obama is making a renewed push to meet his longstanding pledge to shut the internationally condemned prison.

“Why hand over this albatross to the president’s successor?” Monaco was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The White House’s proposal, however, is sure to face strong resistance from the Republicans who control Congress. Legislation currently bans the transfer of the detainees to the US mainland.

The plan, which the White House says is nearing completion, will establish “security protocols” for resettling prisoners in countries other than their own, Reuters reported. American lawmakers are concerned that some of the foreign terrorism suspects who are freed will return to militant activities.

Washington has ruled out repatriating dozens of Yemenis because of the war in their country.

Sixty-four prisoners have been deemed “too dangerous to release,” including 10 facing military commissions. Monaco said efforts would be made to reduce that number through “periodic review boards” that have been used to clear others for transfer, Reuters reported.

“We are going to whittle down this group to what I refer to as the irreducible minimum, who would have to be brought here to a secure location, held under the laws of war, continuing under military detention,” she said. “That’s the only way we’re going to be able to close Guantanamo.”

The Obama administration has threatened to veto a defense spending bill if it includes restrictions on transferring inmates.

But Monaco insisted on the need to “work with Congress,” especially Senator John McCain, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee and has long advocated closing the prison, Reuters reported.

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