Guantanamo closure plan ordered

US defence secretary orders staff to prepare stategy to shut prison camp.

    Guantanamo Bay has been widely
    criticised by human rights groups [EPA]

    The camp was opened in 2002 to hold prisoners captured during the Bush administrations so-called war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Since then it has been criticised over reports of abuses, including the use of harsh interrogation practices such as waterboarding, which simulates the sensation of drowning, the military tribunals faced by detainees.

    Among the issues to be settled before the prison closes are what to do about the military tribunals under way and the fate of about 60 detainees that US officials have approved for transfer to their home countries.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged planner of the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001, and four others, pleaded guilty to war crimes charges at the tribunals earlier this month.

    Closure call

    Appointed by George Bush, the US president, as defence secretary, Gates has agreed to stay on in the Obama administration.

    Gates has also said Guantanamo should be closed.

    "I think we can provide alternatives to it," he said in an interview on Wednesday with PBS television in the US.

    "I would like to see it closed. And I think it will be a high priority for the new administration," he said.

    But he also said that closing the prison will require passage of laws to prevent dangerous detainees from being released in the US.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.