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Friday, November 17, 2006

New Guantanamo Bay legal compound planned
Gabriel Haboubi at 4:11 PM ET

[JURIST] The US military has preliminary plans to build a new legal compound at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba [JURIST news archive], where trials of detainees [JURIST news archive] may begin to take place as early as June, the Miami Herald reported [registration required] Friday. According to a federal solicitation notice [text] seeking contractors, the compound will include a secure perimeter, a courthouse with two large courtrooms wired with CCTV, a dining facility for up to 800 personnel, housing for up to 1200 personnel, and additional logistical facilities such as interview rooms. The cost of the facility is expected to be between $75,000,000 and $125,000,000.

Amnesty International [advocacy website] US executive director Larry Cox [AI profile] characterized the facility as a “white elephant,” deriding the Pentagon [Miami Herald article] for wanting to build such an expensive and permanent structure even though the new rules for the proposed military commissions are not yet finalized, and no new charges have yet been filed against detainees. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told the Herald that the Pentagon would likely seek authorization and funding from the current, Republican-controlled congress. A formal proposal for the project has not yet been forwarded. AP has more.

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