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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Senate defeats amendment to block funds for holding Guantanamo detainees in US
Carrie Schimizzi at 12:31 PM ET

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] on Tuesday rejected an attempt to bar using federal funds to build or modify prisons in the US to hold detainees from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. By a mostly party-line 57-43 vote [roll call vote], the Senate defeated an amendment [S AMDT 2774 text, PDF] to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act [text, PDF; HR 3082 materials], proposed by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) [official website], which would have prevented federal funds from being used to construct or modify prison facilities in the US to hold Guantanamo detainees. The action suggests congressional Democrats may be lining up behind President Obama's vision for closing [JURIST report] the Guantanamo military prison. The Senate approved [roll call vote] the $133.9 billion fiscal 2010 spending bill after defeating the amendment, which Illinois officials feared could have complicated the Obama administration’s plans to move [JURIST report] Guantanamo detainees to the Thomson Correctional Facility [IDOC backgrounder], a maximum security prison in Northwestern Illinois. The proposed measure was also seen as a hindrance to President Obama's administration plans to try suspected terrorists in civilian courts in New York City.

Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced [JURIST report] that the government will pursue federal charges in a Manhattan district court against five men accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month, the US Senate voted 54-45 [JURIST report] to defeat an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have prevented Guantanamo detainees accused of involvement in 9/11 from being tried in federal courts. In October, US President Barack Obama signed [JURIST report] into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 [HR 2892 materials] which allows for Guantanamo Bay detainees to be transferred to the US for prosecution.

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