8 Mar 2011

US lifts freeze on Guantanamo military trials

10:45 pm on 8 March 2011

United States President Barack Obama is lifting the two-year freeze on military trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Mr Obama also announced a new process for continuing to hold those detainees not charged or convicted but deemed too dangerous to free, saying the measures would "broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice", the BBC reports.

"The American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al Qaeda and its affiliates," Mr Obama said.

He added that military commissions "ensure that our security and our values are strengthened".

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates issued an order on Monday revoking his previous suspension on the "swearing and referring of new charges in the military commissions".

New military commissions at the prison, which holds a number of top suspects from the attacks in September 11, 2001 and other strikes against the US, have been suspended since January 2009.

Mr Obama ruled in an executive order that detainees would have the right to a periodic review of the reasons for their detainment.

The order was designed to ensure inmates detained indefinitely without trial were only kept in prison when it was lawful and necessary to do so, the White House said.