In his campaign, Barack Obama vowed to close Guantanamo for good, however, once he took office the situation appeared to take different direction because there have been so many political barriers.
Guantanamo prison remains open in the middle of controversy and with many human rights organizations pointing them.
The military commissions were made by the Bush administration in 2001 with the intention of having terrorism suspects away from their guarantees and rights granted by U.S. federal courts. The measure was established in the Bush period after 9/11, it was intended as an instrument to find out the truth behind the attacks against America.
Now, things have come to the surface and we have learned that Guantanamo detainees have gone through torture, violation of their most basic rights and some of them remain there even when the charges have been withdrawn.
What brought Guantanamo once again in the middle of the debate was the detainee’s hunger strike and the decision of Obama´s administration to force feed them. Obama, later on, told the media that he did it because he didn’t want them to die, but again there has been ferocious criticism against that decision.
BBC news informed that for some of the prisoners the process of force-feeding is painful to them and making them vomit.
The Lancet had a letter signed for 150 doctors to President Obama, saying, “without trust, safe and acceptable medical care of mentally competent patients is impossible” and “since the detainees do not trust their military doctors, they are unlikely to comply with current medical advice”. They said in the letter too, “ we endorse their request, and are prepared to visit them under appropriate conditions, to assist in their recovery and release”.
Some of the Republican congressman remain opposed to bringing detainees to American Soil and judge them in a Federal court. Senator John McCain expressed that they aren’t opposed to closing Guantanamo as long as they come up with a plan to process the terrorists. Some Republicans have declared that removing prisoners and bringing them to trial under American federal courts would be a huge mistake and they oppose the idea, giving examples of other terrorists in the past, who have joined bigger groups in the Middle East or become affiliated with them.
In recent days, Guantanamo was called to attention again, because the Obama administration unveiled the status of the detainees in Guantanamo.
There are 48 Guantanamo prisoners some very dangerous, but ineligible for trial, because there is not enough evidence, or it wasn´t clear what the charges were. According to the list, there are 26 Yemenis, 12 Afghans, 3 Saudis, 2 Kuwaitis, 2 Libyans, a Kenyan, a Moroccan and a Somali. Some of these detainees are on the hunger strike. Two men on the list are dead, one killed himself with a bed sheet and the other had a heart attack.
A few weeks ago, President Obama addressed that Guantanamo needs to be shut down, because it usurps American values and traditions. Obama also said that America is safer than ever, which doesn’t mean that terrorist aren’t a threat anymore. He promised he will work with a new team and review case by case bringing everybody to a fair trial, whether on a federal court or a Military commission.
For now, the big questions are when and how Guantanamo is going to close and how the terrorists will be release. The case has become a labyrinth of politics, of promises and a blame game, but something needs to be done, whether closing the prison or leaving it open with a new system that will judge detainees with justice and fairness.
Obama is Peace Nobel Prize winner and the decision of the detainees in Guantanamo will be crucial for his image and legacy as President. For now, Guantanamo is again in the middle of controversy.
By: Oskar Guzman
Source: The Lancet, Human Rights Watch, BBC news