US President-elect Donald Trump has called for an end to the transfer of detainees from the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison.
In a statement on Tuesday, Trump spoke against closing the Cuban-based military prison and said the US government should avoid releasing any more prisoners from the detention center in order to stop them from committing more crimes.
“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” the president-elect said via Twitter, using the abbreviated name for the prison. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”
The warning comes as the administration of outgoing US President Barack Obama prepares to release another 19 detainees from the facility before the president leaves office.
In December 2016, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he expected additional transfers to be announced before Obama’s farewell on January 20.
The detainees will reportedly be bound for Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
In his last security speech in the US state of Florida early last month, the outgoing president expressed disappointment over failure to close the notorious prison during his tenure, saying it was a disgrace and a waste of money.
“We are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars to keep fewer than 60 people in a detention facility in Cuba,” Obama said. “That’s not strength … And I will continue to do all that I can to remove this blot on our national honor.”
Obama had pledged during his 2008 presidential campaign to close the military prison, which is located on Cuba’s southeastern coast, before he leaves office. However, he has been unable to fulfill his promise in the face of stiff opposition from the US Congress.
The Obama administration has transferred most of the detainees to other countries, but there is a small number of detainees who the administration says it would like to keep at a US facility for national security reasons.
A Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA had used a wide array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture as part of its interrogation methods against the prisoners at Guantanamo.
The so-called interrogation methods included placing detainees in stress positions, stripping them, holding them isolated for extended periods of time and exposing them to extreme heat and cold.
About 780 men have passed through the facility since it was opened following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to hold terrorism suspects.
Washington says the prisoners are terror suspects, but has not pressed charges against most of them in any court.
The US military has been criticized for force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners who have been engaged in hunger strikes for years to protest their confinement.