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Inside Guantanamo Bay
Detainees arrive at Camp X-Ray


On 11 January 2002 some 20 men detained in Afghanistan on suspicion of belonging to Al-Qaeda became the first inmates at a newly opened US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Images of the hooded and shackled detainees arriving shocked many around the world, and raised questions over Washington's commitment to human rights.

Some 700 prisoners would eventually be transferred to the site. In 2009, some 215 men of various nationalities remain. The others have been released or handed over to their national governments. The prison complex lies on a US military base occupying a small strip of land on the southern coast of Cuba.

The prisoners were described by former president Bush in 2002 as "enemy combatants"; and labelled by his defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "the worst of the worst".

President Barack Obama has pledged to close the camp in 2010. The remaining prisoners will then be either moved to military prisons in the United States, face trial by civilian court or military tribunal, or released.


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