WASHINGTON, D.C. (WEHT) – In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin called on the Biden Administration to do more to accelerate the closure of Guantanamo Bay once and for all.
Durbin said, “By setting up an ad hoc military commission system rather than trusting our courts, by torturing detainees rather than securing evidence lawfully we have made true justice for families… virtually, legally impossible. If pretrial proceedings are still going on twenty years after the event, how many years do you think an actual trial would take? How many years of appeals would then follow?”
Durbin continued, “The reality is that securing guilty pleas in the 9/11 case is at this point the only way to deliver a modicum of justice to the victims and their families… We must not forget that Guantanamo was set up to be outside the reach of the law, outside the reach of the Constitution, outside the reach of habeas corpus, outside the reach of due process, outside the reach of the Geneva Conventions… We must not forget that more than half of the men still there continue to be detained indefinitely without any charge or any trial.”
Durbin said the country must stand for something better than that, noting the U.S. has a responsibility to release detainees who have never been charged with a crime or who have served their time, and the country has a responsibility to deliver what justice it still can to the victims of 9/11 and their families.
Durbin noted in his speech that 18 of the 32 remaining detainees have never been charged with any crime and have been unanimously cleared for release. A news release notes Guantanamo Bay continues to be funded by taxpayers, and the U.S. spends more than $540 million every year to keep the facility open for just 32 detainees, nearly $17 million per detainee.