GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Canadian captive Omar Khadr was sentenced on Sunday to 40 years in prison at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba but a plea deal means he will serve only eight years in addition to the eight years he has been held.
Here are some facts about the Guantanamo detention center and the tribunals.
* The U.S. military holds 174 captives at the detention center, down from 245 when Obama took office in January 2009. Nearly 780 prisoners have been held there.
* Obama missed his January 2010 deadline for shutting down the camp, in part because Congress blocked funding for a plan to move captives to a prison in the United States. His administration is still negotiating diplomatic deals to repatriate or resettle those cleared for release. About 30 prisoners were to be sent home to Yemen, but Obama suspended repatriations to that country amid allegations that an al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen was behind a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.
* The camp opened in January 2002 to hold and interrogate foreigners captured after U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan to oust al Qaeda and its Taliban protectors. Many detainees were captured outside Afghanistan as part of the “global war on terror” launched in response to the hijacked plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.
* The Obama administration has designated six Guantanamo prisoners, including Khadr, for trial by military tribunal and six for trial in U.S. civilian courts. One of the latter group, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of Tanzania, is on trial in New York on charges of conspiring in the 1998 bombings that killed 224 people at U.S. embassies in Africa. The other five are accused of plotting the September 11 attacks and public outcry against moving them to the United States has forced Obama to reconsider that decision.
* Only five trials have been completed in the Guantanamo tribunals — three through guilty pleas, one in which no defense was presented and one in a fully contested trial. Khadr’s guilty plea makes him the fifth man convicted in the controversial U.S. war crimes court at Guantanamo. Two of the others served short terms and were sent home to Australia and Yemen. The remaining two, from Yemen and Sudan, are serving sentences at Guantanamo.
Reporting by Jane Sutton in Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba; Editing by Kevin Gray and Eric Walsh