News / USA

US Expects More Guantanamo Detainee Transfers

US Expects More Guantanamo Detainee Transfersi
X
December 19, 2013
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid