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Senate passes defense bill banning torture but limiting detainee court access

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] on Wednesday approved a defense policy bill [text] banning the cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees in US custody but also limiting the ability of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] prisoners to challenge their detention in federal court, effectively allowing information obtained through coercion to be used against them. The unanimous vote to send the torture ban, first proposed by Sen. John McCain, to President Bush for signature follows the bill's passage in the US House [JURIST report] earlier this week. The provision on detainees' access to the federal courts was a compromise [JURIST report] agreed to after Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed and persuaded senators to pass [JURIST report] an ever stricter provision. Also Wednesday, the Senate approved the 2006 military appropriations bill [bill summary] by a vote of 93-0 [roll call vote], but only after a provision that would have allowed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [official website] was removed [JURIST report]. This final version of the spending bill must now be approved by the House before it is sent to Bush to be signed into law. Reuters has more.

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