Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp, also known as Gitmo or GTMO, is a group of high security prisons or detainee centers, run by the US Military and located in Cuba at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The base was first used in the early 70s to hold refugees of Haiti and Cuba who were discovered trying to enter the US via the waters around Florida. In 1993, the US Supreme Court declared that the base couldn’t legally hold Haitian refugees in this manner, and for a time, any holding facilities were abandoned.
After 9/11 and the terrorist attacks on America, the government reestablished Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp as a holding facility for people deemed "unlawful combatants." This could include US citizens or residents, and was primarily meant to hold anyone suspected of terrorism, and the various prison camps, of which there are several, have also held people from Afghanistan and other countries who are supposed to have links to al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamic terrorist organizations.
Since the establishment of Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp for this purpose, the US and the camp has come under fire from some US citizens, from a number of human rights organizations, and from other countries. Most detainees are held without the right to legal counsel, and since they are considered unlawful combatants rather than prisoners of war, rules on the safe and humane treatment of prisoners do not have to conform to the Geneva Code. Detainees are investigated through a number of practices, which some may define as torture. This includes the practice of water-boarding, other aggressive interrogation techniques, and some denial of basic rights accorded to most US prisoners, such as allowing people to continue to live in accordance with their religious beliefs.
There have been a number of media reports of abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo, and this abuse includes chaining prisoners to beds for longer than 24 hour periods, not allowing prisoners who have been cleared of suspicion of being unlawful combatants to leave, and sexual abuse of prisoners. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees should be allowed to pursue their cases in federal courts and be heard on the subject of their detention. This access has long been denied to detainees, who were only able to plead their cases in the past before military tribunals.
The debate on Guantánamo Bay has become a very politically and emotionally charged subject, and many American politicians, private citizens, leaders of foreign countries and world organizations have called for its closure. The future of the facility is dependent upon the current administration's priorities, and if they deem it necessary for national security.