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Closing Guantanamo

- September 30, 2016
Does the prison hinder the fight against terrorism?
  • Overview
  • Current Situation
  • Chronology
  • Pro/Con
  • More...
Featured Report

President Obama has tried for years to close the U.S. military-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and incarcerate terrorism suspects in the United States. Critics of Guantanamo say it serves as a potent propaganda tool for the Islamic State, which makes the prisoners it captures wear orange jumpsuits nearly identical to those worn by Guantanamo inmates. But Republicans and some Democrats have fought to keep the facility open, contending that transferring detainees to U.S. soil would be dangerous. The prison has drawn the opposition of many U.S. allies, who cite allegations of torture there. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wants to close the prison, while Republican nominee Donald Trump vows to expand its use. The Obama administration has stopped sending new prisoners to Guantanamo and is steadily reducing the population — now 61 inmates — by transferring detainees to the custody of U.S. allies. National security analysts say the Guantanamo controversy underscores the need to reform how suspects captured in the terrorism fight are tried in court.

Civilian or Military Courts?

Slow-moving military commissions are drawing criticism.

Standards of Evidence

Civil rights groups argue that military commissions employ loose standards of evidence.

Blame Game

The standoff between the White House and Congress appears to have no resolution.

1815–1959Military commissions come into use. U.S. takes possession of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
2001–2002Bush administration brings terrorism suspects to Guantanamo.
2004–2008Military commission trials proceed amid legal fights.
2009–PresentObama and Congress battle over closing Guantanamo.

Should the Guantanamo detention facility be closed?


Alberto J. Mora
Senior Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University.


Retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk S. Lippold
Former Commander, USS Cole.
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