Mastermind of 9/11 and other terror suspects are moved out of $17m Guantanamo Bay facility after raw sewage sloshed through cells
- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was among the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay’s crumbling Camp 7, where some cell doors no longer closed
- The US military confirmed on Sunday that all prisoners from the camp had been moved to a facility adjacent to where other detainees are held
- It is not clear when the move took place but the military said it would ‘increase operational efficiency and effectiveness’ at the base
Prisoners including the alleged mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks have been moved from a once-secret unit in Guantanamo Bay to the main part of the camp on the American base in Cuba.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was among those held in Camp 7 – a two storey, maximum-security facility, which cost $17million to build in 2004.
The camp, where prisoners were kept in isolation for the majority of the day, has now been closed after falling into disrepair.
Tropical rains brought raw sewage sloshing into the cells and power cuts were frequent in the dilapidated building, where some cell doors no longer closed, according to The New York Times.
The paper reported that the coronavirus pandemic worsened the situation as it became more difficult to fly over contractors and spare parts for repairs.
The US military said in a statement on Sunday that the move, which saw the prisoners transferred to a facility adjacent to where the other detainees on the base are held, was part of an effort to ‘increase operational efficiency and effectiveness’ at the notorious site.
Prisoners including the alleged mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks have been moved from the once-secret Camp 7 in Guantanamo Bay to the main part of the camp on the American base in Cuba. Pictured: A holding area at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay [File photo]
Miami-based US Southern Command, which oversees the detention center on the southeastern edge of Cuba, did not say how many prisoners were moved.
However officials have previously stated that about 14 men were held in Camp 7. There are 40 prisoners being held in Guantanamo in total.
Southern Command said the Camp 7 prisoners were moved to Camp 5 ‘safely and without incident,’ but did not say when the transfer – which was devised under the Trump administration – occurred.
Camp 5, which was largely empty, is next to Camp 6, where the other detainees are held.
Camp 7 opened in December 2006 for prisoners previously held in a network of clandestine CIA detention facilities, often referred to as ‘black sites’, where they were subjected to brutal interrogation techniques.
The military ran it under an agreement with the CIA, and Southern Command said intelligence agencies were involved with the transfer.
The military long refused to even acknowledge the location of Camp 7 on the base and has never allowed journalists to see inside of the facility.
Officials had said that the unit, which was never designed to be permanent, had structural issues and needed to be replaced, but the Pentagon dropped plans to seek money for the construction.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks, was among those held in Camp 7 – a two storey, maximum-security facility, which cost $17million to build in 2004 [File photo]
The camp was modelled after a state prison in Bunker Hill, Indiana, according to The New York Times, and included a small health clinic and a psychiatric ward with a padded cell.
Prisoners previously kept in Camp 7 were confined to their cells unless being taken by guards to individual showers, outdoor cages for recreation, or to another cell where a single detainee could watch television while shackled, the paper said.
In recent years, however, communal meals and praying were permitted under strict supervision.
Among those held at Camp 7 were five prisoners charged with war crimes for their alleged roles planning and providing logistical support for the 9/11 attacks.
President Joe Biden has said he intends to close Guantanamo, but that would require approval from Congress to move some prisoners to the US for trial or imprisonment.
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