January 22, 2010
CARDIN CALLS FOR CONGRESS TO REVIEW PLANS FOR CLOSING GITMO AND CLASSIFICATION OF DETAINEES
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D?MD), chairman of the Judiciary Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee, today called for a careful examination of the Administration's plans for the indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees. He released the following statement:
"One year ago today, President Obama ordered the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. I commended the President because Guantánamo Bay clearly represents a failed system of justice. The decision to close Guantánamo Bay made us stronger as a nation and it strengthened our relationships with our allies. We told the world that the rule of law was once again paramount in the U.S. and that we, as a nation, will abide by our international obligations. Moreover, it will deprive our enemies of a key recruiting tool."
"Today, the Administration has taken a major step toward the ultimate closure of the Guantánamo Bay facility by completing a review of all pending cases. Early media reports indicate that the Presidential Task Force handling the reviews will recommend upwards of 50 detainees should be held indefinitely, while nearly three dozen should be prosecuted in either civilian or military courts and another 110 should be released overseas. Congress has a responsibility to carefully review the legal framework used to make these determinations. I look forward to working with the Administration as we explore these issues together in such a way that can expedite the closure of the Guantánamo Bay facility. Further delays would not be helpful to our national security or our worldwide efforts to combat terrorists like al-Qaeda."
In July 2009, Senator Cardin chaired a hearing entitled Prosecuting Terrorists: Civilian and Military Trials for GTMO and Beyond"with representatives of the Departments of Justice and Defense, along with other legal experts, to examine how terrorists currently being held by the United States and those captured in the future might be prosecuted, what type of legal protections may be needed in both civilian and military courts, and how both civilian and military courts are prepared to handle potential trials.
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