Donald Trump has announced he will be keeping Guantanamo Bay open, hinting he may send new prisoners to the notorious US jail.

During his State of the Union address , the US president announced that he had just signed an executive order on "protecting America through the lawful detention of terrorists”.

The executive order revokes former president Barack Obama’s order to close the controversial detention facility and even opens the option of more suspected terrorists being held there.

The reversal was a long-standing campaign pledge by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump also vowed to use his powers to continue to detain any terrorists captured during armed conflict that the US deems to be a risk to the country.

"In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield – including the ISIS leader, (Abu Bakr) al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released," Trump said in the speech.

Donald Trump’s State of the Union address

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in July that Baghdadi had been killed. Americans captured him in the beginning of the war in Iraq, and released him a year later, thinking he was a civilian agitator rather than a military threat.

Civil liberties groups immediately denounced the executive order, and the Center for Constitutional Rights said it would file a legal challenge.

"In trying to give new life to a prison that symbolizes America’s descent into torture and unlawful indefinite detention, Trump will not make this country any safer," said Hina Shamsi, a director at the American Civil Liberties Union. 

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