US PRESIDENT Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep the notorious Guantanamo Bay concentration camp open before his State of the Union address last night.
The illegal prison, sited within a US naval base on an occupied corner of Cuba, allows US authorities to hold captives behind bars indefinitely without bringing them to trial.
Former president Barack Obama promised to close it if elected in 2008 and even signed an order demanding its closure within a year on his second day in office in 2009 but ended up breaking the pledge.
In the face of congressional opposition, “the path of least resistance was just to leave it open,” Mr Obama admitted in 2015. That allowed Mr Trump to pledge in his turn that he would keep the camp open and “load it up with some bad dudes.”
Centre for Constitutional Rights spokesman J Wells Dixon said terrorist groups such as Isis would would “applaud” the announcement that “it is now the formal policy of the United States to detain Muslims forever without charge in an offshore prison.
“Keeping Guantanamo open is politically expedient but exceedingly stupid.”
Mr Obama’s special envoy at the State Department for closing Guantanamo Lee Wolosky said the effect would be mainly symbolic.
“Symbolically it reaffirms his interest in perpetrating a symbol that has greatly damaged the United States,” he said.
Hundreds of people have been held at the camp since it was opened by president George W Bush in 2001, with 41 still there when Mr Obama left office.
Former inmates have alleged systematic torture, humiliation and abuse of detainees within the camp.
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