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Common Dreams

House Votes to Maintain 'Indefinite Detention' at Gitmo

Members of the US House of Representatives also elect to block a plan to close the controversial prison

by
Common Dreams staff

Guantanamo will stay open and continue to be a place of "indefinite detention" for individuals cleared for release.

This was the result of a vote Friday by members of the US House of Representatives, who rejected a plan to close the detention facility where 166 individuals are currently being held.

Further, Representatives voted 236 to 188 to add a restriction to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 that bars any of the roughly 56 prisoners who have been cleared by military and intelligence officials to be sent to Yemen from being transferred there for one year.

"Not everybody that we rounded up and took to Guantanamo, unfortunately, turned out to be the very dangerous terrorists that we thought they were," said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who along with Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) sponsored the failed closure amendment. 

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"Determining that if there is any minimal threat whatsoever we're simply going to hold them forever is, well, quite frankly, un-American. That is contrary to our values to say we're going to hold somebody indefinitely—I gather forever—because we think there might possibly be some risk," Smith added. "That's not the way the Constitution is supposed to work."

This ruling follows the recent announcement by military officials that, of the 166 detainees, only "20 at most" will ever officially be charged and tried for a crime.

Over 100 of the prison detainees are taking part in an ongoing hunger strike, protesting against the cruelty of their indefinite detention. Over forty of those participating are currently being force-fed, a process denounced by many as being a form of torture.

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