Obama to unveil plan to close Guantanamo prison

Obama to unveil plan to close Guantanamo prison

Washington - President Barack Obama is expected Tuesday to make a final push to close the controversial US prison at Guantanamo Bay, hoping to honor a glaringly unfulfilled campaign promise.

With less than a year left in office, Obama will unveil options for closing Guantanamo in a statement at 1530 GMT, according to White House officials.

Around 90 suspected jihadists remain at Guantanamo, a facility which once housed upwards of 700 inmates and has become synonymous around the world with torture, indefinite detention and orange jumpsuits.

For years, Obama's efforts to close the site have been thwarted by Republican lawmakers, many of whom see it as a useful tool in combatting terror.

Obama also has faced opposition from within his own administration, with the Pentagon accused of slow pedaling transfers and overstating closure costs.

Details of Obama's plan are unlikely to be revolutionary.

He has long argued that many Guantanamo prisoners should be transferred overseas and some should be tried by military courts.

A small number - those deemed too dangerous to release but too difficult to prosecute - would be held in the United States.

But Congress has placed a ban on transfers to the US, deepening the legal thicket. Human rights groups worry this would only extend detentions without trial and create "Gitmo North." Both as a candidate and while president, Obama promised to close Guantanamo, arguing indefinite detention and "enhanced interrogation" violated the nation's values and handed militants a potent recruiting tool.

The administration is looking at military facilities like Fort Leavenworth, Kansas or the US Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina as possible destinations for inmates. Those locations, however, may be met with objections from local politicians.

Efforts to transfer prisoners overseas have been stymied by unrest in Yemen - a likely destination for many - and by recidivism among those already released.

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