President Obama reveals plans to close Guantanamo prison

 
James Nickerson
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The prison costs $445m to run annually (Source: Getty)

The White House has presented fresh plans to the US congress to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

The remaining 91 detainees are to be moved to their home countries or US military or civilian prisons.

Closing Guantanamo has been one of Obama's long term goals, and something he has been working towards since his first day in office in 2008.

"This is about closing a chapter in our history," said President Barack Obama. "It reflects the lessons we've learned since 9/11 - lessons that must guide our nation going forward."

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"Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law," he added.

However, the US congress had so far thwarted his plans. It is expected that congress will move to block Obama's plan. The prison costs $445m (£316m) a year to run, and the plan hopes to save $180m a year.

US Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio was quick to hit out, saying that Guantanamo prisons don't belong on US soil as they are "literally enemy combatants". He said he would sent terrorists straight to the detention facility "to find out what they know".

"Enemy combatants suitable for trial will be tried in military tribunals. And no Guantanamo detainees will be brought to the United States for trial in our courts," he said on his website.

Read more: White House in 'final stages' of plan to close Guantanamo

White House secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday he was “not confident” that the plans would be politically palatable. However, he added that wouldn't stop the President from arguing for closing Guantanamo.

One of the key complaints by human rights groups has been that many of the detainees have not been given a trial, or even been charged.

Last July the White House said Obama was in the "final stages" of drafting a plan to close the prison at Guantanamo.

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