Four years after his election promise to close down Guantanamo in Cuba, president Obama has announced his intention to renew his commitment to the cause.

Around 166 inmates – many of whom have not been charged – are currently held in the prison camp and 100 of them are on hunger strike.

Many of the inmates, such as  Shaker Aamer, have been locked up without charge for 11 years, despite being cleared for years, to leave.

During a press conference at the White House on Tuesday, Obama called Guantanamo a “lingering problem that is not going to get better,” adding that it would “get worse” and would “fester.”

Families and lawyers of the inmates at Guantanamo have claimed that their loved ones are subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, regular beatings and sleep deprivation.

The military recently dispatched additional medical personnel to Guantanamo to force-feed, 21 of the detainees and the military’s Muslim advisor has predicted that multiple prisoners would die before the hunger strike ended.

In a press conference held on April 30th, Obama said: “I understand that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with the traumas that had taken place, why for a lot of Americans, the notion that somehow we had to create a special facility like Guantanamo and we couldn’t handle this in a normal, conventional fashion – I understand that reaction. But we’re now over a decade out. We should be wiser. We should have more experience in how we prosecute terrorists.”

Obama issued an executive order to close Guantanamo’s prisons at the beginning of his first term, but the effort was apparently halted by legislative restrictions and inertia by the executive branch.

Human rights groups have called upon Obama to honour his promise and to ensure the inmates are not subsequently shipped off to a similar prison – without being charged.

In a report published online, Amnesty International called for “real reform” of the US security policy and urged the American government to ditch the “global war on terror” framework and instead ensure that suspects are fairly tried and released if found not guilty.

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