US renews efforts to transfer Gitmo detainees
WASHINGTON (PAN): US President Barack Obama’s administration has renewed its efforts at closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center and transferring its prisoners to other countries.
As part of the renewed efforts, the Obama administration not only named the appointment of a new special envoy for the closer of the center, but also announced it had started reviewing cases of those being held without any charges in the past two days.
“The Administration is committed to transferring as many detainees as possible, and the President continues to call on Congress to lift restrictions on detainee transfers, which have significantly limited our ability to responsibly reduce the detainee population and ultimately close the detention facility,” said Caitlin Hayden, the National Security Council spokesperson.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced Paul M. Lewis as the new Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure. Lewis will work closely with Special Envoy Cliff Sloan at the State Department to facilitate transfer of Guantanamo detainees.
He also will oversee efforts to transfer third country nationals currently held by the United States in Afghanistan.
And a day later, the Pentagon released additional information about the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process which will review whether continued detention of certain detainees held at Guantanamo Bay remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to US national security.
The Pentagon has not said how many of the 164 prisoners now at Guantanamo will be reviewed under this process. More than 80 of these have already been cleared for release or transfer. However, they still held either because of restrictions on releases imposed by the Congress or they are from Yemen, which the US believes is too unstable to accept them.
“The PRB process makes an important contribution toward the President’s goal of closing Guantanamo Bay by ensuring that the government has a principled and sustainable process for determining whether continued detention is warranted for certain detainees in light of the current circumstances and intelligence, and identifying whether additional detainees may be designated for transfer,” Hayden said.
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