Tags: gates | Guantanamo | Prison

Gates: U.S. 'Stuck' With Guantanamo Prison

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 11:03 PM

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The United States is "stuck" with its war-on-terror detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because it cannot figure out what to do with prisoners who cannot be charged or set loose, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.

Gates told lawmakers that he still believes that the prison should be closed, but has not found a way to do it.

"Senator, I think the brutally frank answer is we're stuck. And we're stuck in several ways," he told California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

He said the United States was prepared to send 60 or 70 prisoners home but either cannot persuade their countries to take them, or can't trust them not to free them.

"The second problem is ... what do you do with that irreducible 70 or 80 who you cannot let loose but will not be charged and will not be sent home," he said.

Gates said he had discussed the issue with members of congress, the attorney general and others in the administration without coming up with an answer.

Moreover, he said "we have a serious not-in-my-backyard problem."

"I haven't found anybody who wants these terrorists to be placed in a prison in their home state," he said.

"So these three problems I think really has brought us to a standstill in trying to work these problems," he added.

Currently, there are about 270 detainees at Guantanamo.

Feinstein said prisoners could be housed at maximum security facilities in isolated parts of the United States, and that ways needed to found to overcome the obstacles Gates mentioned.

"Nothing you have said absolves the enormous loss of credibility we have in the eyes of the world," she said. "We are being called hypocrites, that we have double laws, laws for some, and no laws for others."

Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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