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Friday, June 19, 2009

House denies Guantanamo closure funds, restricts detainee transfers
Matt Glenn at 7:57 AM ET

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives passed a spending bill [HR 2847 materials] Thursday that denied the Obama administration's request for $60 million to close the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention center and placed limits on the government's ability to transfer detainees to the US and release detainees to foreign countries. The first 2010 spending bill, which was approved by a vote of 259-157 [roll call], also prohibits funds from being used to release detainees from Guantanamo into the US. The legislation would require the president to submit to Congress a detailed plan documenting the costs and risks of transferring a detainee to the US for trial or detention at least two months before the detainee is to be transferred. Additionally, the president would have to notify the governor and legislature of the state to which the detainee is to be transferred at least 30 days before the transfer and must show that the detainee does not pose a security risk. The bill also requires that the president submit a report to Congress before releasing a detainee into his country of origin or last habitual residence unless that country is the US. Thursday's bill, which must now go before the Senate, is the first of 12 spending bills [AP report] House Democrats hope to pass by August.

US President Barack Obama has requested funding to shut down Guantanamo Bay, but Congress has repeatedly refused. The House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies [official website] approved an earlier version [JURIST report] of Thursday's bill that also denied Obama the funds to close the facility. In May, Obama defended his plan [JURIST report] to close down Guantanamo Bay and try its detainees in federal courts and modified military tribunals. Obama's speech came a day after the US Senate passed an amendment [JURIST report] eliminating $80 million intended to be used for the closure of Guantanamo until the president provides a "comprehensive, responsible plan" to do so.






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