Inside Story

Why is Guantanamo Bay still open?

US President Biden faces legal and political challenges to close notorious prison.

Guantanamo Bay opened in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago.

It was meant to be a temporary detention centre for the biggest threats to United States national security, as part of the so-called “war on terror”.

But the place soon became notorious for human rights abuses and torture. At its peak, it held 780 prisoners, most of them without charge.

Thirty-nine prisoners are still there, including the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

Why is it still open two decades on?

Presenter: Imran Khan


Mansoor Adayfi – Former Guantanamo detainee and Guantanamo coordinator for CAGE, a human rights advocacy organisation

Jasmine El-Gamal – Senior manager for MENA, Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Kenneth Roth – Executive director, Human Rights Watch