Saturday, January 08, 2011

Obama Signs New Law - Gitmo to Stay Open

So much for his shot at another Nobel Peace Prize!

US President Barack Obama has signed a major defense bill effectively preventing the closure of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Obama has vowed to repeal the curbs regarding the Guantanamo Bay prison, saying he was forced into signing the bill on Friday.

The new bill bars Guantanamo suspects from being brought to the United States for trial.

The US president further stated that the bill was vital for funding the country's foreign wars in 2011 and that was why he signed it into law.

"Despite my strong objection to these provisions... I have signed this Act because of the importance of authorizing appropriations for, among other things, our military activities in 2011," Obama stated.

Earlier the US chief executive had promised to close the prison, which has drawn international condemnation for its severe mistreatment of prisoners, AFP reported.

The US president also voiced his opposition to the bill without explicitly threatening the restrictions.

"Nevertheless, my administration will work with the Congress to seek repeal of these restrictions, will seek to mitigate their effects, and will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future," he concluded.

The Guantanamo detention facility was established in 2002 by the Bush administration. Almost 800 detainees have been brought to the prison camp since October 7, 2001, when Washington began the war on Afghanistan.

A total of 1,100 US army and navy personnel are engaged in guarding prisoners held in nine separate camps at Guantanamo.

International Red Cross inspectors and released detainees have described acts of torture, including sleep deprivation, beatings and confinement in small, cold cells.

Human rights groups have also argued that indefinite detention constitutes torture. One of the allegations of abuse at the US camp is the abuse of the religion of the inmates.

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