On the same day the White House confirmed plans to transfer more Guantánamo Bay detainees before President Barack Obama leaves office later this month, President-elect Donald Trump called on the Obama administration to end "releases" from the U.S. military prison in Cuba.
There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
His tweet raised the hackles of human rights advocates, who said Trump's message amounted to ill-informed fear-mongering.
Most Guantanamo detainees haven't been charged/tried, "evidence" on them (some from torture) isn't public, but Trump knows they're dangerous https://t.co/qv6vFkMkKJ
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) January 3, 2017
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) January 3, 2017
— Raha Wala (@RahaWala) January 3, 2017
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— Naureen Shah (@naureenshah) January 3, 2017
The United States has repatriated or resettled 179 prisoners since Obama took office; the White House's recent announcement of its intent to transfer an additional 17 or 18 more means that about 40 prisoners will remain when Trump becomes president. He has vowed to keep the prison operating and "load it up with some bad dudes."
As such, Amnesty International launched an "aggressive" campaign on Tuesday urging Obama to do all he can to close the prison before leaving office.
"Amnesty International USA is mobilizing its 1.2 million grassroots supporters and all others who stand for human rights to tell President Obama that Guantánamo cannot be left to President-elect Trump," said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "We are incredibly concerned about human rights in the upcoming Trump administration, and that includes the president-elect's promise to expand Guantánamo's population. We cannot risk letting this institution of injustice become permanent."
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Tuesday the U.S. would continue to carry out Obama's policy on Guantanamo Bay until January 20. "There's one commander-in-chief at a time," Cook told reporters at a Pentagon news briefing.
A coalition including Amnesty, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve, and Veterans for Peace is planning a protest and rally at the White House for Guantánamo's 15th anniversary on January 11.