Guantanamo is back to haunt US President Barack Obama. Disappearing emails from Pentagon computers have delayed 9/11 suspects’ hearings.
Defence lawyers noted the disappearances in February though the source of the leak is unclear. All cases have been halted until the issue has been resolved. Human Rights First condemned the latest procedural problems which have extended the detention of prisoners even further. It has renewed calls to have tribunals relocated to US soil to ensure a fair trial.
Meanwhile in Washington the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Mauer, pressed Obama on the issue of hunger strikes at the Cuban base. He said that the US must do more to resolve the ‘untenable’ legal situation of Guantanamo prisoners.
Forty-three prisoners have refused food, and some have suffered such a dramatic weight loss that they are being force-fed via tubes in their noses. Mauer says the situation is symptomatic of the fact that many prisoners have been held for over a decade without charge or trial.
The pressure is on Obama to resolve the legal quagmire surrounding Guantanamo. Having pledged to close Guantanamo within a year of his first mandate in 2008, months into his second term he is still struggling to get around political opposition to its closure. The US is unwilling to accommodate prisoners if released from the base, and other countries have similarly refused sanctuary.