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Guantanamo kept open for 'humane reasons'

Press Esc | June 24, 2007

United States President George W. Bush is keeping Guantanamo open until he figures out a way to ensure that the detainees are treated humanely once they are repatriated, a White House spokeswoman told the reporters yesterday.

Dana Perino added that many countries are reluctant to take their individuals back from US custody.

"A lot of people have complained about Guantanamo Bay around the world, but many of these countries don't want to take them back, don't want to take their individuals back, or we can't get the assurances that they're going to be treated humanely," she said.

Perino confirmed that no deadline has been set for the closure of the detention facility which currently houses around 375 detainees.

"And so while the President has said we want to make sure that we close this facility as quickly as possible, he's not put a deadline on it because they're complex issues," she said. "We have to make sure that we handle it appropriately."

She insisted that Pole Charki prison in Afghanistan, which is being renovated to house some of the detainees in the future, will not function as a replacement Guantanamo bay.

"I think that, just as with any other country that we have asked to take back their prisoners and to hold them accountable, I would look at it that way," the spokeswoman said. "Afghanistan is a sovereign government, and we've asked other governments to take their folks back."

While demanding the immediate closure of Guantanamo Bay, human rights groups point out that US authorities have an obligation to ensure that the repatriated detainees are not subjected to torture and abuse.

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