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Scrutiny
  
Hell for hope
One year on, Gitmo still stands
04/03/2010

Norwegians would perhaps be among the first to lament Obama’s string of broken promises. Representatives from the Norwegian Conservative, Progress and Socialist Left parties had strongly objected to Obama’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. And the Agence France Press Agency actually revealed a report showing that Obama didn’t win the confidence of a majority of the five member-panel to win the Prize. No prizes for guessing that one of the primary reasons for objecting to his nomination that Norwegians cited was “inability to keep his promises!” Failure to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison on time could perhaps be the biggest public question mark on his Nobel.

To his credit, he tried! Obama has been criticizing the Gitmo prison for human rights violations since his campaign days. On his second full day in office, he issued an executive order to review the disposition of prisoners being held at the Gitmo, and ordered that the facility be closed within a year. One year is over, and the prison is still functioning.

The Republicans opposed it; and worse, even Congress didn’t agree with Obama‘s Gitmo plan. Disagreements were raised on the point of which prisoners to release. The next concern was where the new prisoners would be sent. Even leaders from his own party felt that ‘homing’ the detainees in their own land would be a threat. Few other countries consented to host them. The Congress ultimately rejected Obama’s request for $80 million to fund the closing of the prison by 90-6 votes. And the issue of justice for each of these inmates gets more complicated every day. For instance, it is yet not clear whether the self-confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other accused would face a military tribunal or a civilian court. There is a ‘boy soldier’ who allegedly killed a US medic with a grenade in 2002. As per UN, he should have gone for rehabilitation, not imprisonment. China has protested Switzerland’s decision to give asylum to two Uighur muslims who were detained at Guantanamo Bay, saying they should be brought back to China to be tried. And many more such examples prove why Gitmo will remain a heartsore.

By:- Akram Hoque
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