Republican Senator Rand Paul has called on President Barack Obama not to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by executive decree.
Paul, who is seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election, made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Friday, a day after The Wall Street Journal reported that Obama was considering executive action to shut down the notorious prison.
“We voted on it many times in Congress, and while I do think that we should charge the people in Guantanamo Bay and go ahead and give them adjudication and sentence them, I think that really shutting it down, you have to have an answer as to what you’re going to do with these people,” he said, adding that “and I think bringing them to our country is not the answer.”
Paul went on to say that he was in favor of keeping the military prison open and keep the detainees there.
US government officials told the Journal that the president was mulling over two options to shut down the notorious prison.
Obama had promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison before his election in 2008, but later on backed away on his campaign promise due to stiff opposition from Congress.
The report said that the US president could veto the annual defense spending legislation, which includes a provision barring him from transferring the Guantanamo prisoners back to the US.
It added that the second option is that Obama could sign the bill but include a singing statement that declares “the statutory restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief.” He could then order the inmates be moved to a prison inside the US.
There are still 149 inmates at the prison which was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Washington says the prisoners are terror suspects, but has not pressed charges against most of them in any court.
Last year, many detainees went on a hunger strike for months to draw attention to their conditions at the US military prison.