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DOD postpones plans for Guantanamo Bay legal compound

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) has indicated that it will seek congressional approval for its planned $100 million Guantanamo Bay legal facility [JURIST report] rather than expedite construction by declaring it an emergency expense. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, in a November letter [PDF text] to Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John Warner, had proposed to pay for the facility using "unobligated military construction appropriations;" the FY 07 Defense department supplemental request would then re-fund the depleted budget of the source program. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was among those calling for congressional approval of the project, announced the DOD's reversal in a Friday press release. Read the Pentagon's project summary via the Miami Herald.

The proposed compound for expected war crimes trials of Guantanamo detainees includes a secure perimeter, a courthouse with two large courtrooms wired with CCTV, a dining facility for up to 800 personnel, housing for up to 1200 personnel, and additional logistical facilities such as interview rooms. Earlier this week, 40 Guantanamo detainees were transferred to a new $37 million dollar maximum-security facility [JURIST report] at the prison designed to minimize detainee contact and protect guards from attack. The Miami Herald has more.

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