US President Barack Obama has continued with his pledge for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, the military prison based in Cuba, with the intention of transferring the remaining detainees to America. Speaking at the White House on 23 February, Obama urged lawmakers to give his idea a "fair hearing", saying he did not want to pass the issue to his successor when his presidency ends in 2017.

Obama's proposal, which has not gone without controversy, has lead Republicans to prepare legal action. House Speaker Paul Ryan claimed the Pentagon-authorised plan would be against the law and that bringing prisoners to the US from Cuba would violate a ban made on such transfers that was passed by Congress in 2015. "Our law is really clear," he told reporters after a meeting of House Republicans. "These detainees cannot come to American soil."

According to the former secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, Guantanamo Bay was opened with the intention to detain extraordinary, dangerous people, to integrate them in an optimal setting and to prosecute them for war crimes.

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Detainees sit together inside the Camp 6 detention facility at Guantanamo BayReuters
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U.S. President Barack Obama discusses administration plans to close the Guantanamo military prison while delivering a statement at the White House in Washington. Obama had pledged to close the facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since he took office in 2009Reuters
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A detainee whose name, nationality, and facial identification are not permitted, holds onto a fence as a U.S. military guard walks past the grounds of the maximum security prison at Camp 5 in the Guantanamo BayReuters

Guantanamo was first introduced by George W Bush in 2002 and is located within the Guantanamo Naval Base, which fronts Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The prison holds a number of "camps" including Camp Delta, a 612-unit detention centre that replaced temporary facilities of Camp X-Ray and was built from February through to April in 2002. Camp Delta is composed of detention camps one through to six along with Camp Platinum, Camp Iguana – the Guantanamo psychiatric ward, Camp Echo and Camp No – which includes a interrogation centre. As of January, 93 prisoners remain in the prison, down from a peak of 775, although most were released without charge.

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A group of detainees observe morning prayer before sunrise inside Camp Delta at Guantanamo BayReuters
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A detainee holds prayer beads while standing in the courtyard at Camp 4 inside of the maximum security prison Camp Delta at Guantanamo Naval Base in Guantanamo BayReuters
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The interior of an unoccupied communal cellblock is seen at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo BayReuters
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Harry Potter films are among the titles available at the detainee library located inside Camp Delta at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo BayReuters
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The interior of an unoccupied communal cellblock is seen at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo BayReuters
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A group of detainees observe morning prayer before sunrise inside Camp Delta at Guantanamo BayReuters
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A Navy guard patrols Camp Delta's detainee recreation yard during the early morning at Guantanamo BayReuters
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A soldier stands guard in a tower overlooking Camp Delta at Guantanamo BayReuters
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A Sailor assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion stands watch over detainees in a cell block in Camp 6 at Guantanamo BayReuters
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A detainee learns typing skills during a life skills class in Camp Six at Guantanamo BayReuters
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Detainees join together for Ramadan noon prayer at Camp 6 at Guantanamo BayReuters
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Detainees pray in a communal area of Camp Six at Guantanamo BayReuters
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US Navy guards escort a detainee through Camp Delta at Guantanamo BayReuters
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U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden leave the Roosevelt room after delivering a statement on Guantanamo at the White House in WashingtonReuters