US officials: 35 Guantanamo detainees face trial or commission

Saturday 23 January 2010 09:52 GMT
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At least 80 Guantanamo detainees would be brought to the United States to face trial, military commissions or continued imprisonment without charge under recommendations from a presidential task force, two government officials said Friday.

The two officials said that a task force has recommended 35 Guantanamo Bay detainees for prosecution. Attorney General Eric Holder has already decided that five of those will be tried in New York federal court for their alleged roles in the 2001 terror attacks.

Another six have been chosen to face military commissions. A venue for those commissions has not been decided yet, but the most likely place is a planned prison facility in Illinois to house terrorism-era detainees. The Obama administration still needs money from Congress to renovate that facility.

As part of President Barack Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, the task force has recommended 47 detainees be held indefinitely without charge. Another 17 detainees who are Yemenis are likely to be held for some time to come, until U.S. counterterrorism officials can find a secure place in their home country or other foreign countries to send them, the officials said.

They also said that a total of about 110 detainees have been approved for transfer.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the findings of the task force. The new figures were first reported in Friday's editions of The Washington Post.

The group's conclusions are not binding, and could be changed by the National Security Council.

There currently are 196 detainees remaining at Guantanamo. In the past year, the administration has transferred more than 40 inmates, but has fallen far short of its goal of closing Guantanamo by its one year deadline, which came Friday.

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