Weeks before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks which was presented as the reason for the opening up of Guantanamo Bay prison, 75 Democrat members of the US Congress through a letter urged US President Joe Biden on Wednesday to close the prison.
“The continued operation of the prison is a stain on our international reputation and undermines our ability to advocate for human rights and the rule of law,” the letter read.
Recently a Morrocan man named Abdul Latif Nasser who had been held at the Guantanamo Bay by the United States of America for nearly 20 years was transferred back to his home country.
Naseer is the first detainee to be transferred from the prison facility by the Joe Biden administration. He was never convicted of any crime and despite being recommended for release from Guantanamo Bay in 2016, was held for three additional years.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration had said that the closure of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was under consideration through a review process.
“We recognize that closing the prison will take time, but we believe the time has come with your leadership,” the letter said.
The letter, led by Congressmen David Price and Adam Schiff, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, is the latest effort from Congress to pressure the White House into closing the infamous detention facility.
The prison at Guantanamo is a moral stain on our country.
It’s way past time we end this monument to cruelty and torture.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) August 5, 2021
“Prison’s continued operation a stain on the country’s reputation that undermines its ability to advocate for human rights and the rule of law,” the Democrats further said.
Several documents by Amnesty International present a catalogue of human rights violations perpetrated against those who are captured in the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Prisoners who are put under severe forms of torture are held with inadequate medical care indefinitely and in the absence of fair trials.
The prison has notoriously involved the use of torture, including waterboarding, electric shocks, sexual humiliation and sleep deprivation to gather intelligence from the prisoners.
Even though the Obama administration talked regularly about shutting down the prison facility by the end of his second tenure, it did not fulfil its promise. With former President Donald Trump coming to power transfers out of the facility have stalled, and even those cleared for release have remained incarcerated for years on end.
Following the recent departure of Nasser, Guantanamo Bay now holds 39 prisoners, of whom only 11 have been charged with war crimes.
The US took territorial control over the southern portion of Guantánamo Bay located in Cuba under the 1903 Lease agreement and continues to hold the jurisdiction in the area. However, the Cuban government regards the U.S. presence in Guantanamo Bay as an illegal occupation by a treaty that was signed under illegal force.
Meanwhile, the possible closure of Guantanamo could be hindered by Republicans by the arguments on the lines of counterterrorism under the garb of which the USA has been carrying out human rights violations of the prisoners most of who are not convicted.