A group of US Senators mostly Democrats addressed a letter to President Biden and urged to shut down the Guantanamo Bay Prison and just resolution of remaining 40 prisoners of the facility. Reports suggest that many of the detainees have been confined at Guantánamo for nearly two decades without being tried or charged, and some have been cleared for release but still being withheld in the facility. As per US media, US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and 23 Democrat Senators outlined immediate steps for closure of the notorious and secret American detention facility.
The Senators asked the Biden administration to undertake a serious of pre-closure steps ranging from reestablishment of the State Department office which deals with the Guantanamo prison’s at Diplomatic level, negotiate with foreign governments for possible transfer of prisoners, make arrangements for the prisoner ready for release and for trial who yet not charged with any crime against the US so, they can be prosecuted to end their detention after serving of remaining imprisonment term if any.
The in famous prison at Guantánamo Bay naval base was established on January 11, 2002, in order to house suspected terrorists captured by US forces in Afghanistan. The US government did not want to give Prisoner of War (PoW) status to Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters; therefore, it searched such a place where it governs as per its desires and free from any law. The Guantánamo Naval base is under US control, but technically it is not an American territory, because the US rented it from the Cuban government in 1903. Due to uncertain legal status of the Island, the U.S. government had never abided by any US and International law.
After the circulation of news in international media regarding use of torture against prisoners by US Military attracted worldwide criticism. According to reports, the torture techniques used by the US military and CIA included sexual harassment and threats of rape, threats with dogs, extended solitary confinement, light and sound manipulation, sleep deprivation, physical abuse, and religious abuse such as mocking the call to prayer and abuse of the Quran. The inhumane treatment of prisoners was highly condemned by the Red Cross, United Nations and Center for Constitutional Rights. The US military commission set up by the Bush administration also concluded that the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were tortured by the U.S. military. Besides, international human rights groups, UN experts had consistently demanded the dismissal of the Military Commissions and the closing of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and said that they are contrary to the US’ obligations under international law.
The US senators said in the letter that Guantánamo prison has damaged America’s reputation, fueled anti-Muslim bigotry, and weakened the US ability to counter terrorism and fight for human rights around the world. Earlier, former US President Obama had made significant efforts to shutdown the Guantanamo Bay prison during his first term in office but could not made it due to opposition by the Intelligence Community. There is opposition from Republican lawmakers who argued that the releasing prisoners would endanger the country. However, detaining people on mere accusations without any trial and conviction is totally abuse of law and injustice. United States is continuously committing this human rights abuse and injustice over two decades. United States government must act on sane voices and resolve the issue, because being Champion of human rights in other countries it can not turn blind eye from its own deeds in Guantanamo Bay.