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Obama orders closure of Guantanamo Bay

US President Barack Obama ordered the closure of the controversial Guantanamo Bay military detention centre in Cuba within a year, fulfilling one of his key poll promises.

world Updated: Jan 23, 2009 12:48 IST

US President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the closure of the controversial Guantanamo Bay military detention centre in Cuba within a year, fulfilling one of his key poll promises.

He also signed an order to shut down all secret Central Intelligence Agency detention centers around the world.

Human rights organisations have been alleging that the Guantanamo Bay military prison, set up by Bush Administration in 2002, was being used to detain and question terror suspects with harsh interrogation measures. The prison camp currently holds about 245 inmates.

The executive orders in this regard were signed by Obama at a White House ceremony during his meeting with the retired military officials.

The Order sets up an immediate review to determine whether it is possible to transfer detainees to third countries, consistent with national security. If transfer is not approved, a second review will determine whether prosecution is possible and in what forum. If there are detainees who cannot be transferred or prosecuted, the review will examine the lawful options for dealing with them.

Earlier testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dennis Blair, Director National Intelligence- designate, said the detention center must be closed.

"I agree with the (US) President that the detention center at Guantanamo has become a damaging symbol to the world and that it must be closed," Blair said during the course of his nomination hearing.

Signing the executive order, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to the war against terrorism and said the US is going to win the war on its own terms.