The prison in Guantanamo Bay should be shut down. It is a gross abuse of the American and international legal systems, and a betrayal of the high standards to which the US seeks to hold itself. When Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah met US President Barack Obama last week and pressed for the quick release of two Kuwaitis who are still held in Guantanamo, Obama should have had no hesitation in releasing the men to Kuwaiti justice. It is wrong that he did not do so, and it is wrong that Guantanamo is still open at all.
US president George W. Bush opened the Guantanamo facility during his ‘war on terror’ in January 2002 to contain what the US Defence Department described as extraordinarily dangerous prisoners. It was a travesty of justice that the US Department of Justice advised Bush that Guantanamo was outside US legal jurisdiction. The 779 prisoners were held without legal restraint on their captors, and well-established allegations of torture and abuse have consistently surfaced.
Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo despite his campaign commitment is a grim reminder to the rest of the world that the US does not really care about legal process despite all its rhetoric. Guantanamo should close and the prisoners should be taken to the US where they should be tried under the normal US legal system, and their sorry limbo ended.