Amid Prisoner Hunger Strike, Obama Renews Close-Gitmo Vow

With prisoners at Guantánamo Bay engaged in a hunger strike, President Obama renewed on Tuesday a pledge to close the prison.

“It’s not sustainable,” Obama said at a news conference, according to the New York Times. He continued, according to a transcript of the news conference:

“I mean, the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no man’s land in perpetuity, even at a time when we’ve wound down the war in Iraq, we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan, we’re having success defeating al-Qaida core, we’ve kept the pressure up on all these transnational terrorist networks, when we’ve transferred detention authority in Afghanistan — the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried — that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.”

Obama pledged during his first presidential campaign to close the facility. The hunger strike was prompted by the failure of the Obama Administration’s efforts — in face of congressional resistance — to shut down the detention facility, and also difficulty in transferring prisoners out of Guantánamo.

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