Activists Must Press US House Democrats To Close Gitmo - HRW Deputy Director


Activists Must Press US House Democrats to Close Gitmo - HRW Deputy Director

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 12th January, 2019) Activists must push the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives on key panels to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Human Rights Watch (HRW) US Program Deputy Director Laura Pitter told Sputnik.

Friday marked the 17th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo detention center, also known as "Gitmo." The facility was opened amid the post-9/11 war on terror to detain terror suspects but has come under fire for human rights abuses including torture and indefinite detention.

"Activists need to make the case for Gitmo closure and freeing of the remaining 40 prisoners to the new Democrat-controlled House Armed Services Committee," Pitter said after a meeting at the New America think tank on Friday.

Pitter, however, also doubted Congress would act to close the controversial detention facility. She said going through the US court system was probably the best way to challenge its existence.

Earlier during the presentation, Pitter told the audience that there was widespread opposition within both the Departments of Justice and Defense to putting more prisoners into Guantanamo.

She said these officials realize detaining prisoners at Gitmo was not in US interests.

Human rights activist Andy Worthington, co-founder of the Close Guantanamo advocacy group, warned the audience that a new generation of conservative lawyers and Federal judges were emerging that might resist efforts to close the facility.

In December, a Gitmo victim's attorney urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to immediately launch a probe into possible war crimes related to the conflict in Afghanistan in light of the declining health of a Guantanamo Bay detainee tortured by US personnel.

Last January, during his first State of the Union address, Trump announced that he had signed an order to keep Guantanamo open. Former US President Barack Obama had promised to close the prison but failed to fulfill his pledge.

Your Thoughts and Comments