The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Friday asked [memorandum, PDF] the federal courts to dismiss a case brought by the Miami Herald [media website] demanding to know how much money the government spent to build a prison facility at Guantanamo. The news service requested this figure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text, PDF], but the Obama administration argues that this information is classified under Executive Order 13526 [text], as it pertains to intelligence activity. The government urges that the protection and safety of Guantanamo information is crucial, outweighing the "sleight public interest" that might be gained from learning how much was spend in the construction of the structure.
The treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] has raised humanitarian concerns internationally, and in recent months the US has grappled [JURIST op-ed] with the complexities of the laws of war and the legal rights of due process for detainees. Last week, US President Barack Obama [official website] announced [JURIST report] that 2014 should be the year to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the US shifts away from a "permanent war footing." Earlier in January, Amnesty International released a statement demanding [JURIST report] the US close Guantanamo, calling the prison's continued operation a "prime example of the USA's double standard on human rights." Also in January, the panel review board (PRB) administered by the DOD under Executive Order 13567 [text] concluded its first review and cleared [JURIST report] a former Guantanamo detainee for transfer to Yemen. A week prior three Uighur Muslim detainees were transferred to Slovakia and in December of last year two Guantanamo detainees were transferred [JURIST reports] to Saudi Arabia. Also last December the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed [JURIST report] a denial of a writ of habeas corpus for a Guantanamo detainee.