News / USA

US Expects More Guantanamo Detainee Transfers

US Expects More Guantanamo Detainee Transfersi
X
December 19, 2013 4:32 AM
The Pentagon is speeding up the transfer of detainees from its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two Saudi prisoners were sent back to their country this week, after U.S. officials said they received assurances from the Saudi government that the men would receive humane treatment and that they would not join terrorist groups. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
US Expects More Guantanamo Detainee Transfers
Luis Ramirez
The Pentagon is speeding up the transfer of detainees from its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two Saudi prisoners were sent back to their country this week, after U.S. officials said they received assurances from the Saudi government that the men would receive humane treatment and that they would not join terrorist groups.
 
Roughly half of Guantanamo's inmates have been cleared of charges, yet they remain at the facility - in some cases for more than a decade. 
 
President Barack Obama made a campaign promise to empty and close the prison. He signed an executive order to shut it, but restrictions imposed by Congress got in the way. Critics accuse him of not pushing hard enough to get rid of the roadblocks.   
 
In May, the president called on lawmakers to remove the obstacles.
 
“History will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future - 10 years from now, or 20 years from now - when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country,” said Obama.
 
That call apparently has been heard. In a rare compromise, Democrats and Republican lawmakers have given initial approval to legislation that will make it easier for the administration to negotiate the detainees' transfer to other countries.
 
The issue of the detainees had been largely forgotten in Washington until more than 100 of them staged a hunger strike months ago.   
 
Lawyer David Remes, who represents a number of the hunger strikers, believes their action drew critical attention and forced Obama and Congress to deal with the issue.
 
“People are just tired of Guantanamo. They have Guantanamo fatigue. They don't want to keep hearing about this issue. They want it to go away and I think that they're willing to let President Obama shrink the population if he gets the assurances he needs,” said Remes.
 
As part of those assurances, countries that receive detainees must promise they will not be tortured and will not engage in terrorism.
 
However, the ultimate goal of closing the prison is still not on the horizon. 
 
After the detainees who are cleared of charges are transferred out, there are still about 80 who face trial. They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the September 11 attacks.
 
In the case of those five, there is at this time no discussion of ever moving them off the facility.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs