Obama blasts Congress's limits on Guantánamo transfers
President Obama signs a bill to fund the Defense Department, though he's upset with one provision that prohibits bringing Guantánamo detainees to the US for trial. He vows to fight the restrictions.
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In his statement, Obama objected to what he sees as congressional meddling designed to prevent detainee trials in civilian federal courts in the US.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Guantanamo Bay ten years and counting
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“The prosecution of terrorists in federal court is a powerful tool in our efforts to protect the nation and must be among the options available to us,” he said in his statement. “Any attempt to deprive the executive branch of that tool undermines our nation’s counterterrorism efforts and has the potential to harm our national security.”
They noted that over 400 terrorism-related trials have been conducted in US courts, and only five by the military commission system at Guantánamo.
“This legislation not only removes one of the most reliable and effective tools we have in the fight against terrorism – the use of federal criminal courts to try terrorism cases – it also represents a clear intrusion on the authority of the executive branch to decide where prosecutions should be brought,” Mikva and Sessions said.
“There is nothing stopping the president from ordering the Department of Justice or Homeland Security to send planes to Guantánamo to transfer detainees to the United States for prosecution or to foreign countries for repatriation or resettlement,” Mr. Romero said in a statement. “He should do so as soon as possible.”
Romero added: “Guantánamo must be closed as soon as possible, and we must put an end to the unlawful policies that have been carried out there. It is high time to restore the rule of law.”