By Chris Good
April 30, 2007
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation Monday that would close the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
“Guantánamo Bay has become a lightning rod for international condemnation,” Feinstein said. “Rather than make the United States safer, the image projected by this facility puts us at greater risk.”
Since January 2002, the facility, also known as “Gitmo,” has housed suspected terrorists whom the administration has described as “the worst of the worst.”
The U.N. called on the U.S. to close Guantánamo in February 2006, siding against the Bush administration’s claims that suspected terrorists were not entitled to treatment adherent to the Geneva Conventions or the habeas corpus right to challenge the legality of their detentions.
Feinstein’s bill would require the Department of Defense to close the Guantánamo Bay prison 100 days after the bill’s enactment. As to where the detainees would go, Feinstein laid out several options.
Detainees could be transferred to civilian or military prisons in the United States and charged before civilian courts or military tribunals, or they could be handed over to international tribunals authorized to try them.
Detainees cleared for release would be sent either to their home countries or, if torture looms at the hands of home governments, to third-party countries that have agreed to take them.
Feinstein said she opposes releasing any terrorists, but that the U.S. would be better served holding them elsewhere.
“Conducting trials elsewhere, either in the United States or before internationally recognized tribunals, will give these proceedings a credibility that they would not likely have it they were conducted at Guantánamo Bay,” Feinstein said.