Wednesday, September 28

Biden asks Congress not to impede the transfer of Guantanamo inmates

Correspondent in New York



Joe Biden signed this week the National Defense Authorization Law, the annual budget law for Defense, with items of 770,000 million dollars that include a 2.7% increase in the salaries of members of the Army. This budget is one of the few things that has the support of the two great parties at a time of great political polarization, but, in his signature, the president of EE.UU. protested that the law stands in the way of an old Democratic promise: to close the military prison of Guantánamo, at the US base in Cuba Bay with that name, which houses detainees by the US Army during the ‘war on terror’ unleashed after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In a statement, the US president celebrated the signing of a defense budget law that “provides vital benefits and improves access to justice for military personnel and their families” and that approves “critical” items to maintain the security of USA

But he also criticized the permanence of two provisions that prevent the use of federal funds for the transfer of detainees to certain countries or to the United States itself without meeting certain conditions that “unduly undermine the ability of the executive branch to determine when and where detainees can be processed in Guantánamo Bay and where to transfer them after their release.

Joe Biden prepares to travel to Delaware with the first lady from the White House
Joe Biden prepares to travel to Delaware with the first lady from the White House – Reuters

According to the president of the United States, these restrictions make it difficult for his government to comply with judicial decisions regarding the detainees or negotiate with other countries about the arrest. transfer of the same without putting national security at risk. “I demand that Congress remove these restrictions as soon as possible,” Biden said.

Provisions of the budget law may be an obstacle to the closure of Guantanamo, but this issue also does not appear to have been a priority for US President Biden participated as vice president in the efforts of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, for closing the military prison, a symbol for some of the US abuses in prosecuting and punishing suspected terrorists. Obama was able to drastically reduce the number of detainees, but the complete shutdown resisted him.

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From the Republican side, however, they did not support the closure of the military prison. During the presidency of Donald Trump, only one detainee was transferred out of prison, and Republican lawmakers in Congress insist on obstructing the closure. There are currently 39 detainees in Guantánamo, compared to 800 who have passed through their cells since 2001, and most of them have not been charged.

Biden remains “absolutely committed to the closure of Guantánamo,” defended his press officer, Jen Psaki, this month. Despite this, in his first year in the White House, only one detainee has been transferred. Last spring, a group of 24 Democratic senators signed a letter pressuring Biden to shut down, arguing that it is possible with “political will and immediate action.” Something that Biden has yet to find for that promise.

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