Home > Featured > How You (and President Obama) Can Close Guantanamo Prison | Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams.

How You (and President Obama) Can Close Guantanamo Prison | Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams.

Yesterday, July 1, marked the first day in office for Clifford Sloan, newly appointed Guantanamo closure envoy. Shortly after his May address on counterterrorism, President Obama appointed Sloan to the Office of Guantanamo Closure in the State Department, a position that had been vacant since January. The appointment and reopening of the office is the only concrete step the President has taken concerning Guantanamo since his May speech. With over 100 of the 166 remaining prisoners on a hunger strike and over 40 being brutally force-fed, great hopes are being placed on Mr. Sloan to break the impasse.

(photo: Witness Against Torture)

(photo: Witness Against Torture)

A key first step in closing Guantanamo is releasing the 86 prisoners who have already been cleared for release. This is something the President can do by invoking the waiver system that Congress put in place. The Secretary of Defense must determine that risk of the detainees returning to militant groups is low and that the transfer is in the interest of national security, then notify Congress of the release 30 days in advance. So far, the Obama administration has never exercised this authority.

For more on this story, visit: How You [and President Obama] Can Close Guantanamo Prison | Common Dreams.

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