Speed Reads


15 years and 2 presidents later, the Guantanamo Bay detention center is still open

Wednesday, Jan. 11, marks 15 years since detainees first arrived at the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. After the recent transfer of four cleared Yemeni prisoners to Saudi Arabia, the camp holds 55 detainees, 19 of whom have been cleared for release. Another 36 are subject to indefinite detention with no charge or trial to date, and 10 have been charged with war crimes.

Gitmo has held about 780 prisoners over the last decade and a half, and contrary to President Obama's repeated promises to close the facility, it is expected to remain open when President-elect Donald Trump takes office this month.

For the inmates who remain, the presidential transition is a source of "a great deal of anxiety and fear," says Pardiss Kebriaei of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing five detainees. Trump has indicated he does not wish to see Gitmo shut down and has hinted that he may be interested in sending Americans accused of terrorism to be tried at the facility in a military tribunal, which does not accord many key constitutional trial rights.