Trump to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open

Ben Fox | AP | BDN

Ben Fox | AP | BDN

President Donald Trump issued an executive order to keep open the prison at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, the White House announced.

Mr Trump announced the move in his State of the Union address.

Trump plans to overturn an Obama-era directive to shutter the detention center by issuing an executive order, ABC News reported.

The order, which Mr Trump signed just before delivering his first State of the Union address, says the USA maintains the option to detain additional enemy combatants at the detention centre in Cuba when lawful and necessary to protect U.S. national security.

He has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2006. But we must be clear: terrorists are not merely criminals, they are unlawful enemy combatants. The facility still holds 41 prisoners.

Trump's planned executive order, first reported by POLITICO, would rescind a prior order issued by Obama.

The order says the US maintains the option to detain additional enemy combatants at the detention center in Cuba, when necessary.

In his speech, Trump said that the United States "foolishly" released hundreds of terrorists, including the leader of Daesh terrorist group.

Last year, Sessions described Guantanamo as "a very fine place, " adding that he would direct future enemy combatants to the Cuban detention center rather than attempt to prosecute them in federal court.

European allies, Muslim leaders and other critics have been vehemently opposed to how detainees have been held at Guantanamo for decades without charge.

Both the Bush and the Obama administration also believed that the prison had become a recruitment tool for terrorists and sought to whittle down the population through an aggressive slate of transfers.

There are no immediate plans to send any additional prisoners to the prison, which typically holds detainees in the "war on terror" awaiting military tribunals and has held almost 800 detainees since 9/11.

During his 2016 election campaign for the USA presidency, Trump pledged to keep the facility open, saying, "We're gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we're gonna load it up".

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