Human rights groups have welcomed President Barack Obama’s move to suspend trials at Guantanamo, but the inmates still face an uncertain future.
He has long-signalled his desire to close the detention camp for terrorism suspects. The EU has also welcomed the announcement.
A spokesman said Obama was “turning the page on the sad episode of Guantanamo. He called for an early resolution to the case of Guantanmo prisoners, saying they should be the object of “fair judicial procedures.”
The camp at the US base in Cuba was set up by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9/11.
Judges have now halted proceedings in 21 cases, including the death penalty trials against five suspects accused of plotting the September 11 attacks, after Obama called for their suspension.
One of the most controversial detentions was that of a 15-year-old Canadian boy whose interrogation was secretly filmed. His case is among those suspended.
In the run-up to yesterday’s inauguration protest groups had kept the pressure on Obama to live up to his campaign pledge to shut Guantanamo. His early action is seen as a first step in fulfilling that promise.