The U.S. Department of Defense has developed new guidance on critera for transferring detainees to the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, if they pose a continued threat to the United States, a Pentagon spokesperson said.
“The Secretary of Defense has provided the White House with an updated policy governing the criteria for transfer of individuals to the detention facility at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay,” Commander Sarah Higgins told The Defense Post in an emailed statement. “This policy provides our warfighters guidance on nominating detainees for transfer to Guantanamo detention should that person present a continuing, significant threat to the security of the United States.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis has given the updated guidance to the White House, Reuters first reported on Wednesday, May 2.
Gitmo currently houses 41 detainees, including five who are facing a military trial for their alleged involvement in the September 11 attacks.
President Donald Trump announced in January that he had ordered Mattis to keep the prison open and re-exmaine the policy on detaining terrorism suspects.
A number of foreign nationals accused of fighting with Islamic State have been captured by U.S. partner forces in Syria and Iraq and are held by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces.
They include an unidentified American citizen currently detained in Iraq. “John Doe,” who surrendered to the SDF last year, is currently challenging the conditions of his detention with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. Last month a U.S. federal judge put an injunction on his transfer to a third country, likely Saudi Arabia, where he also holds citizenship.
According to the ACLU, “Doe” has been classified as an enemy combatant, which would allow him to be detained indefinitely or perhaps to be transferred to Gitmo.