US military closes one detention centre at Guantanamo Bay
The US military has closed a maximum-security detention center at Guantanamo Bay, an official said on Thursday, as the controversial military prison’s population continues to shrink.
Guantanamo’s Camp 5 lockup, which was opened in 2004, will be converted into a medical facility for detainees, facility spokesman Navy Captain John Filostrat said in a statement. The detainees formerly housed there have been moved to another prison camp in the Cuba-based facility.
“Camp 5 at the Guantanamo Bay has been closed as a detention facility and repurposed into another function and the detainees consolidated,” Filostrat said.
Camp 5 once housed non-compliant inmates and had special equipment in place to protect jailors from “splashing” – the grim practice of hurling bodily fluids and excrement at guards. Last month, 15 detainees were transferred to the UAE, bringing down Guantanamo’s population to 61.
Since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, 780 inmates have been housed in the US military-run facility, which President Barack Obama has repeatedly tried to close. In recent months, he has authorized a flurry of transfers of prisoners to other countries.
According to the Miami Herald newspaper, Filostrat said on Wednesday that Camp 5’s closure would shrink the number of troops needed to run and guard the facility by 400. Currently, 1,950 troops and civilians operate the prison centers.
Guantanamo is a US naval base carved out of a remote chunk of land on the tip of southeastern Cuba. The administration of George W Bush opened a prison there to hold terror suspects. The riskiest remaining detainees, including five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks, are incarcerated at another, secret prison camp elsewhere on the base.