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A group of 75 Congressional Democrats sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden urging him to close "once and for all" the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
"The prison at Guantanamo represents a fundamental betrayal of our values and our commitment as a country to the rule of law. You have our full support in your efforts to close the prison once and for all," states the letter, published by the website Politico.
Four heads of different committees of the lower house of Congress stand out among those who signed the text: Adam Shiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee; Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Smith, head of the Armed Forces Committee; and Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
According to the publication, it will be difficult for the White House to turn a blind eye to this request, given the relevance of the signatories.
Former President Donald Trump in 2018 ordered the Guantanamo Bay prison to remain open, directing detention operations to continue and permitting additional detainees to be sent to the prison “when lawful and necessary to protect” the country. His initiative repealed part of an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama in 2009 that called for the prison to cease operation.
Biden’s Defense Department announced today the transfer of its first detainee from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — the opening step of what could be a complete shutdown of the controversial facility long pledged by Dem administrations https://t.co/PQRZCu6zWE
In February, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Biden’s support for shuttering the prison and said the administration had launched a “robust, inter-agency process” with the National Security Council that aimed for a full closure by the end of the president’s term in 2024.
"Since early this year, the Biden Administration has been engaged in an interagency review of Guantanamo detentions. The Administration is now engaged in a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and closing the Guantanamo facility," a senior official told Politico on condition of anonymity.
However, the possible closure of Guantánamo could be hindered by Republicans.
"It's time to shutter this horrific symbol of torture, indefinite detention, and injustice, once and for all."
In this sense, Jim Inhofe, senator for Oklahoma, expressed that the liquidation of Guantánamo "would seriously jeopardize national security," for which he called the efforts of the Biden Administration "misguided."
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced on July 19 the repatriation of a Moroccan prisoner who had been held at the prison since 2002 without having been officially charged with any crime. This is the first release of an inmate from the Guantanamo prison during Biden's term in office.
Guantánamo still holds 39 inmates, 28 of whom have not been charged with any crime during the nearly two decades they have been held indefinitely.