Detainees Moved to New Prison at Guantanamo; Camp X-Ray Likely Finished
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – Under stringent security, guards transferred 300 suspects of the war on terrorism from makeshift cells at Camp X-ray to a permanent new facility at Camp Delta, military officials said Monday.
The transfer, which the media was banned from covering, began Sunday and was completed Monday.
"This operation was done under very heavy security and I am pleased to announce that there were no accidents or injuries," said Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus, in charge of the detention operation in Guantanamo Bay. "It was done in a very professional manner."
Baccus refused to say how the 300 accused Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters were transferred to their new prison but said it was similar to the way the men were taken from the airstrip when they arrived at this U.S. base in eastern Cuba to Camp X-ray.
When the first detainees arrived in January, the media was given access to their arrival and were allowed to watch as the men were searched, manacled and put aboard buses to Camp X-ray.
The new $16.4 million seaside facility contains 408 cells and could eventually be expanded to more than 2,000 cells.
Camp Delta will give detainees metal beds with foam mattresses, flush toilets and wash basins in each cell, and exercise areas. In Camp X-ray, detainees had foam pads on a concrete floor and either used buckets or had to be led from their cells to use portable toilets.
The opening of the new camp, originally set for April 12, was delayed because of last-minute changes, on which officials refused to elaborate.
Bacchus said journalists were not allowed to watch the transfer because of "operational security" issues.
Journalists were taken to Camp Delta after the transfer was completed Monday. But they were forced to stand more than 200 yards away and, because of camouflage netting shrouding the fence, could see only the roof tops of the cells.
At X-ray, journalists could see the detainees in their cells.
Earlier this month, the military withdrew media access to a field hospital where detainees receive medical care. Previously, journalists were allowed to routinely tour the compound.