The US admiral in charge of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba has been fired due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” US Southern Command said in a statement on Sunday. Rear Admiral John Ring was removed from the post on Saturday, the brief statement said, without giving details about why.
Jose Ruiz, a spokesman for Southern Command, which oversees Guantanamo, said the decision was the result of a month-long investigation completed earlier in April, but declined to provide specifics. The firing was first reported by The New York Times.
Colonel Amanda Azubuike, a spokeswoman for the Southern Command, which oversees the prison, told The New York Times the decision to remove Adm Ring had nothing to do with a recent news media visit he hosted there.
Col Azubuike said only that an investigation of Admiral Ring was completed before the visit. Admiral Ring, a former commander of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, was the 18th leader of the prison operations that began in January 2002.
He had led Guantanamo since April 2018. General John Hussey, formerly the centre's deputy commander, will now lead it in an acting capacity, the statement said.
This change in leadership will not interrupt the safe, humane, legal care and custody provided to the detainee population at GTMO, Southern Command said in its statement.
The Guantanamo detention centre, opened by Republican President George W Bush to hold terrorism suspects captured overseas after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, has become a byword for harsh detention practices that have opened the United States to accusations of torture.
President Barack Obama shrank its population while in office but failed to completely close the centre as he had once promised. And President Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2018 to keep the centre open, and has discussed adding to its population. Since May 2018, Guantanamo has housed 40 prisoners.