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Holder: Guantanamo detainees will not be transferred to Illinois prison

US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] swore under oath Tuesday that the Obama administration will not transfer Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoners to the Thomson prison in Illinois, despite earlier plans [JURIST report]. At a Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] hearing, Holder discussed plans of acquiring the Thomson facility [Chicago Tribune report], which would ease overcrowding and be advantageous to the local Illinois economy. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) [official website] is a proponent of the sale due to its beneficial effect on the Illinois economy, purportedly creating over 1,100 jobs and fueling approximately $1 billion into the state.

Holder had confirmed [JURIST report] in September 2011 that the Obama administration remained committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, despite political opposition. Obama has faced criticism for not closing Guantanamo after issuing an executive order [text, PDF] in January 2009 directing that the military prison be closed [JURIST report] "as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order." However, Congress blocked the executive order and barred the transfer of detainees to the US. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at a congressional hearing in February 2011 that Guantanamo Bay is unlikely to be closed [JURIST report] because of security concerns.

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