Obama signs defence bill negating Guantanamo provisions

US President Obama signs annual defence policy passed by Senate despite his objection to its provisions preventing closure of Guantanamo Bay detention center

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Human rights advocates complains about violations of the rights of the detainees of Guantanamo Bay Prison.

US President Barack Obama has signed a controversial $607 billion defence policy bill which contains provisions making the shutting down controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba impossible before he leaves office in early 2017.

Obama expressed his disappointment in Congress after it failed to support the bill.

The newly signed bill was vetoed by Obama last month beacuse of its "Guantanamo language." Yet, the revised bill that Obama signed still bans transferring detainees from the detention center to the United States after lawmakers objected to Obama’s desire to transport the detainees to the US.

The provisions of the approved bill might not be constitutional and not necessarily binding, Obama suggested.

"The continued operation of this facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists," he wrote in a statement attached to the defence bill, stating that it was imperative to "take responsible steps to reduce the population at the facility" to the greatest extend possible and "close the facility."

It was also noted that the bill ensures the support of military personnel and their families, reforms the US military system and raises payments by 1.3 percent for US servicemen and women.

"Our view of those specific provisions have not changed, and what the president does believe, though, is that there are a number of provisions in the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] that are important to running and protecting the country," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said after higlighting the importance of closing the military detention center.

According to the latest statement from the Pentagon, the number of detainees was in Guantanamo has been reduced to 107 from 780 and 57 of these have been transferred over the past 24 months.

During his election campaign In 2008 Obama pledged to shut down the Guantanamo detention center and shortly after being elected signed an executive order regarding the issue. He said that said it makes no sense to spend 3 million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use as a recruitment tool.

Since 2008, he has frequently renewed his promise to close Guantanamo Bay which human rights advocates complain violates the rights of detainees.

Nine of the detainees have died in custody and only nine have been convicted of any crime. Human rights advocates frequently complain about violations of the rights of the detainees who are currently held in the prison.


TRTWorld and agencies