The US prison camp at Guantánamo is back on the political agenda. And the politicking again threatens to derail the already long overdue goal of closing it. This is what happens when a government operates a detention regime that flouts human rights and the rule of law and then fails to apply human rights principles in ending it.
A year ago, it was a hunger strike involving some 100 detainees at the US naval base that prompted President Obama to break his relative silence on the detentions and recommit to closing the facility. Now it is the transfer on 31 May of five Afghan men held without charge or trial there for more than a decade in exchange for a US soldier held for five years in Taliban custody that has sparked some familiar congressional opposition to the President’s aim of ending the detentions.