US closes once-secret Guantanamo prison, relocates prisoners

US closes once-secret Guantanamo prison, relocates prisoners


A once-secret unit at the Guantanamo Bay detention center that had fallen into disrepair has been shut down and the prisoners have been transferred to another facility at the US base in Cuba, the US military said on Sunday.

Prisoners from Camp 7 were moved to a facility adjacent to where the base’s other inmates are being held as part of what the US Southern Command said in a statement as an effort to “increase l ‘operational effectiveness and efficiency’.

FILE PHOTO - Chain link fence and accordion wire surround a deserted guard tower within Camp Delta of Joint Task Force Guantanamo at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, March 21, 2016. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson / File Photo

FILE PHOTO – Chain link fence and accordion wire surround a deserted guard tower within Camp Delta of Joint Task Force Guantanamo at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, March 21, 2016. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson / File Photo

Miami-based Southern Command, which oversees the detention center at Cuba’s southeastern end, did not say how many prisoners had been moved. Authorities previously said around 14 men were being held at Camp 7. There are 40 prisoners at Guantanamo.

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Southern Command said the prisoners from Camp 7 had been transferred to Camp 5 “safely and without incident,” but did not specify when the transfer took place. Camp 5, which was largely empty, is located next to Camp 6, where the other detainees are held.

Camp 7 opened in December 2006 for previously detained prisoners in a network of underground CIA detention centers, often referred to as “black sites,” where they were subjected to brutal interrogation techniques. The military handled it under a deal with the CIA, and Southern Command said intelligence agencies were involved in the transfer.

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The army has long refused to recognize the location of Camp 7 on the base and never allowed journalists to see inside the facilities. Officials had said the unit, which was never designed to be permanent, had structural problems and needed to be replaced, but the Pentagon abandoned plans to raise money for construction.

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Among those held at Camp 7 were the five prisoners charged with war crimes for their alleged roles in planning and providing logistical support for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

President Joe Biden has said he intends to shut down Guantanamo, but that would require congressional approval to move some prisoners to the United States for trial or jail.

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