And what about the 8 years when Obama was president?
Eleven Guantánamo inmates are challenging their indefinite detention in the US military camp in Cuba on grounds that Donald Trump’s defiant pledge to keep all remaining detainees permanently locked up is fuelled by hostility towards Muslims.
The inmate’s petition, filed on Thursday in a federal court in Washington, falls on the 16th anniversary of the arrival of the first 20 detainees to Guantánamo. The prisoners were brought in shackles from Afghanistan on 11 January 2002 dressed in distinctive orange jumpsuits.
Some of the petitioners in the new filing have themselves been held on the Cuban base almost since the beginning; others have been detained for 10 years. None of them has ever been charged, and all know that unless the courts intervene they could remain in their cells until they die.
At the heart of the legal petition is the claim that President Trump has taken a radically new approach towards the treatment of the 41 prisoners who remain at Guantánamo. The inmates argue that his stance is defiant in spirit, arbitrary in nature, and fueled by his “suspicion and antipathy” towards Muslims.