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Obama considering military-civilian prison facility for Guantanamo detainees: report

[JURIST] The Obama administration is considering creating a maximum security prison that would hold both military and civilian detainees as well as a courtroom to accommodate remaining Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees, according to senior administration officials cited [AP report] by the Associated Press Sunday. The proposed facility would be operated jointly by the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense [official websites]. An already existing site in Michigan or in Kansas would likely be selected towards that end. Some of the detainees would be held there indefinitely either because they allegedly pose too great a risk to be freed or because no other country has been willing to take them.

The Obama administration faces sharp opposition from members of Congress in plans to transfer Guantanamo detainees to US soil. In late July, US Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Charles Johnson and Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris [official profile], both members of task force appointed by Obama to oversee the closing of Guantanamo, testified [JURIST news report] in front of the House Armed Services Committee [official website] that the Obama administration is considering transferring more Guantanamo Bay detainees to the US as they urged Congress to pass proposed reforms to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] and detainee policy. In May, the US House of Representatives passed a spending bill [HR 2847 materials] that denied [JURIST report] the Obama administration's request for $60 million to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and placed limits on the government's ability to transfer detainees to the US and release detainees to foreign countries. Also in May, the Senate passed an amendment [JURIST report] to a piece of legislation that eliminates $80 million intended to be used for the closure of Guantanamo until the president provides a "comprehensive, responsible plan" detailing how it will be done.

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