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USA: End detentions at Guantánamo Bay


    "I don't want these individuals to die... Guantánamo is not necessary to keep America safe. [It] is contrary to who we are... and it needs to stop."  President Obama, April 30, 2013.

    On January 11, 2002, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the first detainees were transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Since then, the detention facility there has made the world’s news headlines for the shocking human rights concerns associated with it - including arbitrary detention, secret detention, torture and other ill-treatment, renditions, and unfair trials.

    Over a decade later, more than 150 detainees remain at Guantánamo Bay. The majority are in indefinite detention without charge or trial. Those who have been charged face unfair trial by military commission and some can face the death penalty if convicted. The government claims that even those found not guilty can be returned to indefinite detention.

    Over the years, detainees have engaged in repeated hunger strikes to protest the conditions in Guantánamo Bay. 

    Despite repeated promises by US president Obama to shut down the detention facility and investigate abuses, the human rights concerns in Guantánamo Bay remain an unfinished story. How long before the US government closes the book on Guantánamo and meets its international human rights obligations?


    Guantánamo Bay: Selected facts and figures

    According to the US authorities, 779 detainees have been held in Guantánamo, the vast majority without charge or criminal trial. 

    155 men from more than 20 countries are still held at Guantánamo.

    48 detainees could neither be released nor tried, but should be held in indefinite detention according to the Obama administration.
    Half of those still held at Guantánamo are Yemenis, including one serving a life sentence after being convicted by military commission. President Obama imposed a moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen in January 2010.

    Since 2002, 7 detainees have been convicted by military commission, 5 of whom pleaded guilty under plea trial arrangements, and 3 of whom have been repatriated.

    Since 2002, 9 detainees have died at the base: 7 by reported suicide, 2 as a result of natural causes.

    1 Guantánamo detainee has been brought to the USA for trial in federal court. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2011.

    Zero detainees have been released into the USA.