Since 2002 the United States has maintained a military detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Detainees from around the world are brought there as "enemy combatants." Some have been released. Detainees have the right, per ruling of the US Supreme Court, to challenge their detentions in federal court.
President Obama pledged during his 2008 campaign to close Guantánamo, but that has not happened yet. Where to send detainees who will not be tried but whom the government says cannot be released remains an obstacle. Where and how to prosecute the suspected enemy combatants is another. Congress will not allow Guantánamo detainees to be transferred and held in the US, unless they are awaiting trial.
Former President Mujica, an ex-guerrilla who was once tortured in jail, agreed to take the prisoners earlier this year. He said he was doing it 'for humanity.'
The Taliban released a propaganda clip of the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Some hope the exchange can create an opening for peace.
Guantánamo Bay continues to release a trickle of detainees – very few of whom return to the battlefield.
The first civilian trial of a Guantánamo detainee prompted questions about whether civilian court is the best place for alleged terrorists.
The Obama administration's announcement Sunday that 12 Guantánamo detainees would be sent to other countries followed news that some detainees would be transferred to an Illinois facility. The president set a Jan. 22, 2010 deadline for closing the Guantánamo Bay prison, but seems unlikely to meet it.
The new White House should use the president's credibility abroad, while he still has it, to focus attention on the underlying questions related to detention and terrorism prevention.
Much of the public perception of the detention camps is wrong.