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Housing Guantanamo detainees in Illinois prison will help close facility: Holder

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] said Wednesday that the decision to purchase [JURIST report] the Thomson Correctional Center (TCC) [DOC backgrounder] in northwestern Illinois to house inmates from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] could help close the facility over the next several months. Holder told a press conference that the purchase of the TCC removes a significant obstacle for closing the facility. Despite initially expressing hope that Guantanamo will close within the next few months, he later told Reuters that it may not close until the summer [Reuters report] or early next fall. Holder did emphasize that while the January 22 deadline will be missed, the facility will be closed.

Last month, the White House announced the resignation [JURIST report] of White House Counsel Gregory Craig, after months of criticism of his management of Guantanamo Bay policy initiatives. Also in November, the Center for American Progress (CAP) [advocacy website] reported that the likely failure to meet the self-imposed deadline for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is due to several missteps by the Obama administration. In October, Holder announced that the Obama administration may miss its January deadline for closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, echoing prior statements [JURIST reports] by top administration officials. US President Barack Obama originally issued the executive order to close Guantanamo within a year [JURIST report] last January 22, two days after taking office.

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