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US lawmakers introduce legislation to close Guantanamo prison

[JURIST] Three US lawmakers introduced legislation [HR 2212 text; summary] Tuesday to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], calling the prison a symbol of US failure and hypocrisy. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) [official website] announced the legislation with a statement [press release] Tuesday, asserting:

Guantanamo has become a liability. The real and perceived injustices occurring there have given our enemies an easy example of our failures and alleged ill intent. The prison is so widely viewed as illegitimate, so plainly inconsistent with America's proud legal traditions; it has become a stinging symbol of our tarnished standing abroad.
Harman added that a call to close the facility should not be seen as a movement to set terrorists free; but that it was a "necessary first step" to be "true to America's most fundamental values and legal norms." If passed, the legislation would require President Bush to close the facility within one year of the bill's enactment and transfer all remaining prisoners to other facilities.

Guantanamo currently has around 380 prisoners, many being held for years without any formal charges being filed. Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) [official website] introduced similar legislation [LA Times report] to close Guantanamo. The proposed legislation [S 1249 text; summary] would the release of any detainees who "pose no continuing security threat." AFP has more.

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