News / USA

    Legal Hurdles Keep Scores of Prisoners Detained in Guantanamo

    Legal Hurdles Keep Scores of Prisoners Detained in Guantanamoi
    X
    June 06, 2014 4:13 AM
    It’s been more than 12 years since the administration of President George W. Bush re-opened the doors of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Nearly 800 detainees have been there since the onset of the so-called global war on terror. Human rights groups say the detentions are illegal, but the U.S. Government says they’re necessary, despite promises by President Obama to close the camp. Arash Arabasadi reports from Washington.
    Arash Arabasadi
    It’s been more than 12 years since the administration of President George W. Bush re-opened the doors of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Nearly 800 detainees have been held there since the onset of the so-called global war on terror.  Human rights groups say the detentions are illegal, but the U.S. government says they’re necessary, despite promises by President Obama to close the camp. 
     
    It started in 2002, four months after the September 11 attacks that fueled the U.S.-led war on terror. The detainees were all Muslim; some were as young as 18. Of the 149 still held today, 38 are classified “detained indefinitely.” 
     
    “In the view of the administration - and it’s the previous administration - the detainees at Guantanamo were not combatants as defined in the Geneva Conventions, and therefore not entitled to prisoner of war status upon capture,” said Nicholas Rostow, who served as a former senior adviser to the U.S. government and as a special assistant to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. 
     
    In 1949, the Geneva Conventions established the rules of war, giving rights to uniformed soldiers of signatory countries who are captured on the battlefield.
     
    “It was decided early on that if we captured detainees, we had to decide what their legal status would be. You get the full protections of the Geneva Conventions… if you are a country that has signed and ratified the Geneva Conventions,” said Cully Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
     
    The United States treats these detainees as prisoners of war, with the understanding they will be returned to their home country when the war on terror ends.  The United States does not see that end coming soon.
     
    “It’s better than the alternative. We decided… that it’s better to detain somebody humanely and feed and clothe and water them and what not… than to kill them.  Because the ultimate deprivation of liberty is killing somebody, whereas depriving somebody of the ability to fight on the battlefield is an inconvenience compared to death,” said Stimson.
     
    That’s where things got tricky, said Stimson.
     
    “The complicating factor was that the Taliban was the ruling party in Afghanistan when 9/11 happened.  Only three countries recognized the Taliban as the legitimate ruling party of Afghanistan.  We weren’t one of those three countries, naturally,” said Stimson.
     
    While the U.S. government plans to hold some Guantanamo detainees indefinitely, for the rest, there are only limited options.
     
    “These aren’t the most palatable people, and so it’s a little hard to find places that will take them. Some of them are awaiting trial or should be tried either by military commission or by civilian courts,” said Rostow.
     
    President Obama said six years ago that he would close the doors at Guantanamo Bay. He has yet to make good on that promise, and in light of a recent prisoner exchange with the Taliban, that closing date may be even harder to predict.

    You May Like

    Water Scarcity Could Push Conflict, Migration by 2050

    Warning comes in a new report from the World Bank titled "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy"

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 06, 2014 9:57 AM
    AN UNDENIABLE FACT? -- (The Taliban official headquarters is in Qatar) -- and the (5) senior Taliban released from Guantanamo were sent to Qatar, with no restrictions of any kind, and freedom to go anywhere. -- (to negotiate US troop withdrawal and compensation to the Taliban)....

    (WHY?) -- The US and the Taliban have been in top secret negotiations for over (4) years, on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and an agreement from the Taliban, that they won't attack the withdrawing US troops. -- (FACT?) -- The (5) jailed senior Taliban were the sticking point in the secret negotiations, (because), they were needed as the top secret Taliban team, that the US had to make the US withdrawal and compensation deal with. --- (Bergdahl was used as a diversion and camouflage, to conceal the secret US and Taliban deal) --- FACTS you didn't know?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora