US officials planning the closure of Guantanamo prison are weighing the cases of about 50 to 100 detainees who cannot be tried or released, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
“The question is what do we do with the 50 to 100 — probably in that ballpark — who we cannot release and cannot try,” Gates told a Senate hearing.
“I think that question is still open,” Gates said when asked about President Barack Obama’s plans to shut down the controversial “war on terror” prison.
His comments made clear that some inmates might have to be detained further even after the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay is closed as ordered by Obama.
The US administration is closely reviewing the files of about 240 detainees held at the center to determine who could be transferred to other countries or tried in US civilian courts or special military tribunals set up under former president George W. Bush, Gates said.
About 60 detainees have been cleared of wrongdoing and the previous administration had planned to charge about 80 of the detainees.
The administration was asking Congress for about 50 million dollars to help cover the costs of possible further detention for some of the inmates, who officials say might be held at military prisons on US soil.