By Ria Novosti
U.S. President Barack Obama has lifted a two-year freeze on new military trials at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
Obama suspended new military commissions for Guantanamo detainees in early 2009 and pledged to close the prison within a year. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates revoked the suspension on Monday.
Obama said the measures were part of U.S. counter-terrorism efforts.
“I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system… to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened,” the president said in a statement on Monday.
He also announced a process to continue to hold some detainees who have not been charged or convicted but deemed to pose a threat to national security.
Obama also reserved the right to move some trials into civilian courts on the U.S. mainland, a move that has been repeatedly blocked by Republicans and some of his fellow Democrats in Congress as well as rights activists.
There are still some 172 detainees at Guantanamo, including the masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks, of whom 35 have been set for prosecution.