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Senators urge legislation to define Gitmo prisoner status

[JURIST] US Senators said Thursday at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing [witness list, statements] that Congress should enact legislation to define the legal status of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, while the Pentagon called such a plan too restrictive since present laws enable the US to detain the prisoners for an unlimited period of time. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (SC), John McCain (AZ) and John Warner (VA) [official websites] are spearheading legislation to clarify the current "enemy combatant" title and what it means legally for detainee prosecutions. They contend the legislation is necessary to prevent a further tarnishing of the United States' international reputation and to stop retaliation against US soldiers. European nations and human rights advocacy groups have said the label "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive] is not recognized in international law and the detainees should be given rights as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. Reuters has more.

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