Some inmates of the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are “distraught” about their future under a Trump presidency, according to a CBS News report. While President Barack Obama has worked toward winding down the facility, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to keep it running.
The Guantanamo Bay facility, also known as Gitmo, has gained notoriety for its practice of detaining people without charging them with a crime. And critics of the facility have spoken up against keeping the prison open, arguing that it hurts the fight against terrorism. Sixty prisoners still remain at the facility, of which almost half of whom have never been charged with any crime, despite being detained for years.
David Remes, a lawyer, citing one of his clients who is an inmate, told CBS News: “He said that many detainees thought that it was the end of the world and felt terrible and that many detainees asked for tranquilizers, sleeping pills, because they were so distraught.”
While Obama has said that he is “absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo,” and his administration has expedited the process of transferring prisoners out of the facility and relocating them to other countries, it is now running out of time with President-elect Trump scheduled to take office in January.
At a campaign rally in February, Trump reportedly said: “This morning, I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open. Which we are keeping open ... and we’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we're gonna load it up.”
According to the CBS News report, Saifullah Paracha — the oldest detainee at 69 —maintains that his interaction with Osama bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was innocent and his son Mustafa insists that “something needs to be done” for his father.
Remes, Paracha’s lawyer, added that the general mood in the facility since election night had been gloomy.
Prisoners are reportedly being freed only after it is confirmed that they are not a security threat. Even though administration officials argue that they are not hastening the process by rushing out any prisoners, the Republican-led Congress has voiced concerns that the countries these inmates are being sent to will not monitor them efficiently or be able to stop them from posing a threat anytime in the future.
Rear Admiral Peter Clarke, commander of the U.S. military joint task force based at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, told CBS News: “I know that the detainees we have here today are not folks who were accidentally rounded up. There is a reason why they’re still here.”