GUANTANAMO BAY -- As the trial of the men accused plotting the September 11 terror attacks continues in Guantanamo Bay, Jasmine Norwood got a closer look at where the prisoners have been held for years.
Court was in a closed session Thursday, which means the judge met with attorney teams privately without the detainees, victim’s family members, and media.
Norwood traveled around to other side of the base where detainees are held.
“We started with 779 detainees and now we are down to 61. Out of that 61, 10 are on trial, another 20 are approved for transfer… there is a sense of the end maybe near,” said Joint forces Guantanamo Bay spokesman John Filostrat.
But just how close the end may be, depends on what happens in Washington.
President Obama wants to move the remaining detainees to other countries or to sites in the U.S. including a Supermax prison.
But many republicans don’t want Guantanamo Bay closed. They say it’s an important tool in the fight against terror and they worry about putting the detainees in U.S. facilities.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the sell-proclaimed mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, and four others accused of planning the attacks are imprisoned in camp 7, in a secret location.
Filostrat says most times, detainees in camp 6 and even camp 7 are not confined to their cells.
“They have free movement 22 hours a day where they can be a in a communal setting to pray, eat, watch TV, read, and do whatever they want,” he said.
The description of the camp is different than some may expect, but Filostrat says the remaining detainee population is highly compliant.
“Twenty have been approved for transfer to another country so whenever the State Department works that out and we get the order we will transfer them out of here,” he added.
Detention facility officials said as the prisoner population dwindles so does the staff. By next year there will be about 400 less contractors and guards operating the camps.