Some detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will likely never be released because of the danger they pose, and those tried and acquitted will still be subject to continued detention as enemy combatants, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, made the remarks as Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni, awaited a verdict in the first war crimes trial to be held under a special regime created for “war on terror” suspects.
Morrell said Hamdan, a former driver of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, could appeal the verdict in US courts.
“But in the near term, at least, we would consider him an enemy combatant and still a danger and would likely still be detained for some period of time thereafter,” he said.
Morrell said there were plans for at least 20 more such trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba but he said a significant portion of the detainees being held there would neither be tried nor released.
He said efforts were being made to reduce the size of the population through transfers of prisoners to their home countries for incarceration or release.
“But I think, you know, there are still a significant population within Guantanamo who will likely never be released because of the threat they pose to the world, for that matter,” he said.