Comment Of Sen. Patrick Leahy On President’s Exec. Order To Keep GTMO Open

“For nearly two decades, Guantanamo Bay has been a stain on our American system of justice. From indefinite detentions without charges, to allegations of detainee mistreatment, to reports of government surveillance of confidential attorney-client communications, Guantanamo Bay has proven to be a Kafkaesque mockery of the rule of law. I oppose any attempts, including this executive order, to keep this irreparably flawed system open for business. And I am not alone. More than 50 retired generals, including ones who helped to establish the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, have stated their belief that it must be shut down.   

“American taxpayers have sunk nearly $6 billion into the detention facility Guantanamo Bay, an outrageous expense compared to what it would cost to imprison these individuals in our most secure domestic facilities. Out of the more than 800 detainees who have been housed at the facility since 9/11, only eight have actually been convicted of any terrorism-related charges through the military commission system. By contrast, during that same time period, prosecutors have successfully convicted nearly 500 terrorists in civilian federal courts.

“There is simply no justification to keep open a facility that tramples upon our most basic notions of justice, has become a propaganda recruiting tool for extremists, and routinely fails to hold our enemies accountable for their actions. I urge President Trump to rescind this executive order and close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay once and for all.”

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