April 30 - U.S. President Barack Obama vows to make a new push to close the Guantanamo detention center while relatives of inmates make a plea for their release. Deborah Gembara reports.
A hunger strike at Guantanamo has refocused attention on the world's most controversial detention center. TEASER SOUNDBITE: U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "It is not a surprise to me that we've got problems in Guantanamo…when I was elected in 2008 I said we need to close Guantanamo. In Eastern Afghanistan, the family of a Guantanamo inmate has this request for officials. SOUNDBITE: UNNAMED MOTHER OF GUANTANAMO INMATE OBAIDULLAH, SAYING (Pashto): "I urge President Karzai and the Americans to help us and to release my son. My granddaughter sometimes cries and asks us about her father. We keep telling her that her father is coming. We try to keep her hopeful, but she says that I'm lying to her and deceiving her, that her father is not coming." Maryam was only several days old when her father was detained by U.S. forces in June of 2002. Their plea came on the same day U.S. President Obama vowed to make a new push to close the Caribbean prison. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama "I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counter terrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed." Obama did, however, defend the U.S. military's decision to force-feed prisoners undergoing a hunger strike at Guantanamo. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama "Well, I don't want these individuals to die. Obviously the Pentagon is trying manage this situation as best as they can, but I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this? Why are we doing this?" The president also acknowledged that his efforts to close Guantanamo, which now holds 166 people, will likely be met with resistance from lawmakers who blocked his first push shut the facility down.