In one of its first actions, the newly inaugurated Obama administration requested a 120-day halt to the military commissions at Guantanamo:

In one of his first acts in office President Obama has ordered the U.S. government to suspend prosecutions of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay for 120 days, military officials said Tuesday.

Papers filed at the U.S. prison camp said the request is made "in the interest of justice and at the direction of the president of the United States." It seeks a delay in proceedings until May 20.

"The judges will receive the requests and review them, and we anticipate a ruling soon," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Defense Department spokesman.

Tuesday's directive was issued verbally through Defense Secretary Bob Gates, according to a military official.

Obama had vowed to close the naval prison at the U.S. base. While Obama's order does not go that far, it will stop the prosecutions of 21 detainees currently facing war crimes charges.

Jamil Dakwar, a representative for the American Civil Liberties Union at the base, called the move "a good step in the right direction." Gabor Rona, an observer for Human Rights Watch, also called the order "a first step."

You can send a message to President Obama, asking him to close the prison at Guantanamo, by visiting