Amnesty asks Obama to close Guantánamo

Human rights organisation Amnesty International is reiterating its demand for US President Barack Obama to keep the promise he made in 2009 to close the Guantánamo detention facility.

The NGO sent an open letter to Obama, who will be sworn-in on January 21, asking him to commit the USA to releasing the 166 detainees or bringing them to a fair trial, stating: “in his second term, Obama must correct human rights failure.”

Of the 779 men taken to the facility since 2002, Amnesty says: “The vast majority were held for years without charge or criminal trial.” Seven men have been convicted under military commission, including five as a result of pre-trial agreements under which they pleaded guilty in return for the possibility of release from the base.

Six detainees are currently facing the possibility of death sentences after military commission trials that, it is stated, do not meet international fair trial standards, and, according to Amnesty International, all six were allegedly subjected to the torture technique known as ‘water-boarding’.

After first taking office in January 2009, President Obama pledged to resolve the Guantánamo detentions and close the facility within a year.