President Donald Trump has announced that he was ordering Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility to be kept open, reversing an Obama-era directive to close it.
In his first State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday, Trump said he has signed an order directing Defense Secretary James Mattis to reexamine US military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay.
Terrorists are not merely criminals, but unlawful enemy combatants, the president told a joint session of Congress. “And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are,” he said. “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi — who we captured, who we had, who we released.”
He urged Congress to ensure that in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda, “we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists, wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. And in many cases, for them, it will now be Guantanamo Bay”.
After releasing more than 600 detainees, currently 60 men are held at the U.S. naval base in southeast Cuba. The high-security military jail was set up in 2002 by former president George W. Bush to hold those who are suspected of committing terrorist activities against the United States.
Due to the facts that the inmates are detained indefinitely without trial and some of them were severely tortured, this camp is considered as a major breach of human rights.
But President Donald Trump is skeptical of potential threat posed by the release of terrorism suspects in GTMO, and has made it clear that its closure is unlikely.
Separately, Trump asked Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund the military.
He also asked Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and “only go to friends of America, not enemies of America”.