Former President Bill Clinton says the United States should either “close down or clean up” the Guantanamo Bay prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
In an interview with the Financial Times published on Monday, Clinton said American or British troops would be at much greater risk if they had a reputation for abusing people.
“Well, it either needs to be closed down or cleaned up,” Clinton said when asked whether the camp on Cuba should close.
“It’s time that there are no more stories coming out of there about people being abused.” The prison, set up after the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in response to the attacks of Sept. 11 2001, has become increasingly controversial in recent months. Some U.S. lawmakers have condemned the way detainees are treated at the prison.
“If we get a reputation for abusing people, it puts our own soldiers much more at risk,” Clinton said.
Former detainees have alleged they were abused or tortured at the prison. U.S. authorities have insisted they do not use torture and describe Guantanamo as safe and humane.
The Pentagon has said it holds about 520 men at Guantanamo. Many have been held for more than three years while only four have been charged. Most were detained in Afghanistan.