02.23.16

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Plan to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility

“The indefinite detention without trial of detainees at Guantanamo Bay contradicts our most basic principles of justice, degrades our international standing, and harms our national security.  Just the existence of this facility serves as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and the facility costs American taxpayers more than $4 million per detainee.

“In recent months the President has made progress toward closing the Guantanamo detention facility.  Only 91 detainees remain, and top national security officials have already cleared 35 of those detainees for transfer.  I am encouraged that the administration’s plan calls for accelerating the review process to determine if additional detainees can be transferred, as I have urged them to do, and for completing that process by the fall.   

“Now Congress must do its part and lift the unnecessary and counter-productive restrictions on transferring detainees to the United States, so that we can finally shutter Guantanamo once and for all.  We should all want to see additional detainees finally brought to justice in our federal court system, which has a long and proven track record in terrorism prosecutions – unlike the military commission system that has been bogged down in legal challenges.  Guantanamo has been a stain on our country for more than 14 years.  It is long past time to stop the fear-mongering and to work together to close it down.”

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