Factbox: Guantanamo prepares for Canadian captive’s trial

(BestGrowthStock) – A war crimes tribunal is to convene this week at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba to decide what evidence can be used against Canadian captive Omar Khadr, whose trial will be the first at Guantanamo during Barack Obama’s presidency. Here are some facts about the Guantanamo detention center and the tribunals.

* The U.S. military holds 183 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 after allegations that an al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen was behind a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airplane on Christmas Day 2009.

* The detention 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 Canadian Omar Khadr, for trial by military tribunal and six for trial in U.S. civilian courts. One of the latter group has been transferred to the United States — Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of Tanzania is awaiting 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 three trials have been completed in the Guantanamo tribunals — one through a guilty plea, one in which no defense was presented and one in a fully contested trial. Two prisoners were convicted of providing material support for terrorism, held for a few more months at Guantanamo, then sent home to Australia and Yemen. The third, a Yemeni, is serving a life term at Guantanamo for conspiring with al Qaeda, soliciting murder and providing material support for terrorism.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Paul Simao)

Factbox: Guantanamo prepares for Canadian captive’s trial