Correspondent Lucas Waagmeester: “Of the nearly 800 detainees held atop Guantanamo Bay, it has become clear that many of them have never had anything to do with al-Qaeda or terrorism. They were held on vague suspicion, without never have a decent charge or trial against them.”
That is why, according to Waagmeester, many people have eventually been released over the years, or pathways have been devised to have them tried in other countries. Why is Guantanamo Bay still not closed? “There are two important reasons for this,” says Waagmeester. “The first reason is that there are still officially a number of ongoing trials against people who are still in detention. But they are progressing very slowly, because there is a lack of evidence, because evidence has been obtained by torture techniques, or because there are negotiations with the countries of origin that have trials that must take over.
The second reason is political. “While it has long been realized here in Washington that Guantánamo was a bad idea, clear acknowledgment of it is still difficult for both parties. Because among Republicans, Guantánamo was designed and open to them. So it’s hard to say it was a mistake. And it’s hard for the Democrats because they’re afraid of being accused of being soft on terrorists. So politically, it’s not yet possible to recognize the error and draw the consequences.
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