Groups Urge President Obama to Close Guantanamo Bay Prison


David Jackson (USA Today) writes, “The government is shut down, but activism goes on—including efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” Various civil liberties groups and religious organizations have sent President Obama a letter urging him to follow through on pledges to close Gitmo, a product of the war on terrorism.

The letter said, “Specifically, we urge you to 1) appoint an envoy in the Defense Department to lead the effort to close Guantanamo, and 2) direct Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to use his existing statutory authority … to transfer cleared detainees from Guantanamo to foreign countries that will respect their human rights.”

Signers include the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the National Religious Campaign against Torture and the Presbyterian Church. The government said many countries are unwilling to take detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

From the group’s letter to Obama: “More than four months have passed since you delivered your May 23, 2013, speech at the National Defense University, in which you recommitted the United States to the goal of closing the Guantanamo prison. [. . .] However, despite your personal commitment and engagement, the population at Guantanamo over the past four months has been reduced by only two detainees, moving only from 166 to 164. Of the detainees who remain, 84 were cleared for transfer by national security officials more than four years ago.”

[Photo by Brennan Linsley (AP)]

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