Fifteen detainees kept at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been handed over to the Arab Emirates. 12 of them are Yemenis and three are Afghans, said the Pentagon. The latter reports also that are still 61 people imprisoned in in the internal detention facility of the naval base in Cuba. Yesterday’s transfer of detainees from Guantanamo was the largest one during Barack Obama’s presidency. The latter has repeatedly affirmed his desire to close the prison despite the clear opposition of the Congress. According to the spokesperson for Amnesty International, this transfer is perhaps a sign that Obama will be able to close Guantanamo by the end of his mandate, in October.
Most of the 61 detainees have been imprisoned in the facility without any charge or trial for over 10 years. The prison camp was set up on 11 January 2002, under the Bush administration, for prisoners seized in Afghanistan and believed to have connections to terrorist activities, such as the attack on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001.
“I think we have reached a very dangerous point, where there is a significant possibility that it will remain open as a permanent offshore prison for holding people virtually until they die,” said Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA for Security and Human Rights. According to Amnesty, keeping Guantanamo open provides foreign governments with an excuse to ignore human rights. “It weakens the power of the US government in the debate against torture and unlimited detention,” adds Shah.
The United States, the Pentagon reported, express their ppreciation to the authorities of the Emirates for the “humanitarian gesture and willingness to support the current US efforts to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay”.