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8 Jul, 2009 09:38

Guantanamo promise a test for Obama

The saga of 229 Guantanamo Bay prisoners continues while the proposed deadline for closing the prison is only six months away.

On Tuesday, July 7, the Obama administration said it has the right to keep non-US citizens in custody indefinitely, even if they have been acquitted of terrorism charges by a US military commission.Speaking to Senate Armed Services Committee, the chief lawyer for the Department of Defense Jeh Johnson said that according to the “law of war” the US government has the capability to detain inmates that have already been tried and found not guilty. In every single case American officials would make the decision on the estimation of whether the prisoner poses a serious threat once released.Earlier, Congress rejected the Obama administration’s bid for $80 million to close the Guantanamo base, simply because Democrats could not bear the idea of transferring any of the facility’s prisoners into the United States.Throughout his election campaign Barack Obama heavily criticized the Bush administration and its policies towards Guantanamo Bay and its inmates. He claimed they had been prosecuted and tried without being given constitutional rights.The situation concerning Guantanamo prisoners will probably be the litmus test of Barack Obama’s presidency.