A federal judge rejected on Monday a U.S. government request to keep secret the unclassified evidence that it says justifies the continued imprisonment of more than 100 Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled the government cannot keep the documents known as factual returns from public disclosure and must seek court approval to keep specific information secret.
“Public interest in Guantanamo Bay generally and these proceedings specifically has been unwavering,” Hogan wrote. “Publicly disclosing the factual returns would enlighten the citizenry and improve perceptions of the proceedings’ fairness.”
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U.S. President Barack Obama had vowed to close the detention center set up at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba by his predecessor George W. Bush to hold foreign terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. But closing the center has proved difficult as the White House grapples with where to place the remaining prisoners.
The sealed court documents outlined the government’s case for the continued holding of the detainees. The documents were filed in response to petitions by the detainees seeking their court-ordered release.