Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Signs Death Warrant for Guantanamo.

22/01/2009 | Al Manar

US President Barack Obama Thursday ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and banned the use of torture in terror interrogations in a dramatic repudiation of his predecessor George W. Bush.

The signing ceremony in the Oval Office was the latest graphic sign of Obama's vow to trigger fundamental political reform and will ultimately mean big changes in how the United States handles Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects.

Obama signed executive orders on the controversial camp, requiring US investigators to stop short of abusive methods -- which critics equate to torture -- and requiring a review of the case of the only "enemy combatant" on US soil, Qatari national Ali al-Marri.

"The message that we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism," Obama said. "We are going to do so vigilantly; we are going to do so effectively; and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals," the new president said in a signing ceremony inside the Oval Office. "I think the American people understand that we are not, as I said in the inauguration, going to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals."

Obama did not however resolve the question of what to do with terror suspects who have been in Guantanamo for years, some without being charged or facing trial or if and how many would ultimately be prosecuted or released.

Guantanamo Bay, which still contains more than 240 terror suspects is seen by critics of the Bush administration as a potent symbol of abuses and constitutional infringements they say were committed under the war on terror. More than 800 men and teenagers have passed through Guantanamo since it was opened on January 11, 2002, and around 245 remain there.

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