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Iran Press TV

Biden administration mulls closing Guantanamo prison: White House

Iran Press TV

Friday, 12 February 2021 7:21 PM

The administration of new US President Joe Biden has launched a formal review of the future of the notorious US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, in yet another move aimed at distancing Washington from his predecessor's flawed polices and reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the controversial detention center.

The Reuters news agency cited a White House official familiar with the Guantanamo case as saying on Friday that presidential aides involved in internal discussions were considering an executive action to be signed by Biden in coming weeks or months.

"We are undertaking an NSC process to assess the current state of play that the Biden administration has inherited from the previous administration, in line with our broader goal of closing Guantanamo," National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told Reuters.

"The NSC will work closely with the Departments of Defense, State, and Justice to make progress toward closing the GTMO facility, and also in close consultation with Congress," she added.

Horne also underlined that the immediate impact of the decision could be to reinstate the Guantanamo closure policy of Biden's old boss, former President Barack Obama, which was reversed by Donald Trump as soon as he took office in 2017.

During the 2020 presidential race, Biden's campaign said that he would continue to support closing the detention center but did not say how he would do it.

The controversial prison currently holds 40 inmates, down from 800 after its 2002 opening in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil.

The Guantanamo detention camp is a United States military prison located on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, where many terror suspects have been kept indefinitely without charge amid reports of torture.

Obama had pledged during his 2008 presidential campaign to close the military prison, but failed to fulfill his promise in the face of stiff opposition from the Congress.

In a speech in December 2016, Obama expressed disappointment over failure to close the prison during his term in office, saying it was a disgrace and a waste of money.

Trump, however, said in January 2018 that he had signed a new executive order to keep Guantanamo open indefinitely.

A Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA had used a wide array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture as part of its interrogation methods against prisoners at Guantanamo.

The total cost of running the Guantanamo detention facility in 2018 was at least $540 million, according to a September report by The New York Times.

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