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Obama calls Guantanamo Bay prison ‘waste of money’

US President Barack Obama has expressed disappointment over failure to close the notorious prison of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba during his term in office, saying it was a disgrace and a waste of money.

“We are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars to keep fewer than 60 people in a detention facility in Cuba,” Obama said during his last security speech in the US state of Florida on Tuesday. “That’s not strength … And I will continue to do all that I can to remove this blot on our national honor.”

The US president noted that the prison, which currently holds 59 detainees without pressing charges dishonors America.

Obama had pledged during his 2008 presidential campaign to close the military prison, which is located on Cuba’s southeastern coast, before he leaves office in January. However, he has been unable to fulfill his promise in the face of stiff opposition from the US Congress.

The Obama administration has transferred most of the detainees to other countries, but there is a small number of detainees who the administration says it would like to keep at a US facility for national security reasons.

A Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA had used a wide array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture as part of its interrogation methods against the prisoners at Guantanamo.

About 780 men have passed through the facility since it was opened following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to hold terrorism suspects.

Washington says the prisoners are terror suspects, but has not pressed charges against most of them in any court.

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