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Obama Considers Courtroom-Within-a-Prison Complex for Indefinite Detention

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 8/4/09

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The Obama Administration may have made a decision over the weekend on how to deal with closing Guantanamo Bay prison before Jan 22, 2010, the date set by an order signed by President Obama. The administration is considering the unprecedented creation of a courtroom-within-a-prison complex in the U.S. for terror suspects

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This complex would combine military and civilian detention facilities at a single maximum-security prison and provide a location for 229 detainees now jailed at Guantanamo.

The White House is framing this decision as "the best among a series of bad options." This option, according to the AP, would involve:

_Moving all the Guantanamo detainees to a single U.S. prison. The Justice Department has identified between 60 and 80 who could be prosecuted, either in military or federal criminal courts. The Pentagon would oversee the detainees who would face trial in military tribunals. The Bureau of Prisons, an arm of the Justice Department, would manage defendants in federal courts.

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_Building a court facility within the prison site where military or criminal defendants would be tried. Doing so would create a single venue for almost all the criminal defendants, ending the need to transport them elsewhere in the U.S. for trial.

_Providing long-term holding cells for a small but still undetermined number of detainees who will not face trial because intelligence and counterterror officials conclude they are too dangerous to risk being freed.

_Building immigration detention cells for detainees ordered released by courts but still behind bars because countries are unwilling to take them

Furthermore, AP explains:

As many as an estimated 170 of the detainees now at Guantanamo are unlikely to be prosecuted. Some are being held indefinitely because government officials do not want to take the chance of seeing them acquitted in a trial. The rest are considered candidates for release, but the U.S. cannot find foreign countries willing to take them. Almost all have yet to be charged with crimes.

The Obama Administration seems to be going ahead with the establishment of permanent system for indefinite detention. This actually isn't too surprising especially since the administration shows no signs of ending the "war on terror" anytime soon.

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Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive reported in July that the Pentagon had "expanded the prospects of indefinite detention to include those who actually have already been prosecuted and have even been found not guilty." The decision to have a detainee indefinitely detained would be made based on whether that detainee posed a "future threat" or not.

Rothschild explained that this was creating policy to unlawfully detain prisoners.

In the last week of June, the administration drafted an executive order that would allow indefinite detention and bypass Congress. Heavy debate was occurring as Obama and civil liberties worried what politically the best decision would be.

Back in May, during a speech Obama divided the detainees into five categories and suggested how each category would be dealt with. Obama explained how one of the categories would be indefinitely detained.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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