US Senate approves defense spending bill prohibiting transfer of Guantanamo detainees to US

US Senate approves defense spending bill prohibiting transfer of Guantanamo detainees to US

The US Senate on Tuesday approved the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA )[text, PDF], which is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama despite further delaying the closure of the Guantanamo Bay military prison. Section 1031 of the NDAA prohibits the use of funds for the “transfer or release of individuals detained at [Guantanamo Bay] to or within the US.” Furthermore, section 1036 prohibits the use of funds to “close or abandon” or “relinquish control” of Guantanamo to the Republic of Cuba. The bill impedes the president’s plan to close the detention camp by transferring over half of the detainees [NYT report] to a prison with the US. An earlier bill was vetoed [AP report] by Obama because of a dispute about government spending. The current bill passed in the House by a vote of 370-58 and by a vote of 91-3 in the Senate.

The NDAA comes after the Department of Defense [JURIST report] said they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison just last month. Also last month the last British detainee at Guantanamo Bay was released [JURIST report] after extensive review [report, PDF] by the Guantanamo Review Task Force (GRTF). The GRTF was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order [text, PDF] to review the status of all detainees. Also last month, another Guantanamo Bay detainee was released and sent back [JURIST report] to his home country of Mauritania. In September White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was considering a “wide array” of options [JURIST report] for closing the prison.