Wire: Obama Admin Says Gitmo Trials Likely to Restart
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, May 2, 2009 -- Newswires reported this evening that President Barack Obama's administration may revamp and restart the Bush-era military commission system for prosecuting suspected terrorists as it struggles to determine the fate of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in an attempt to fulfill a pledge to close the facility by January.
The move to revamp the system would further delay terrorism trials and, coupled with recent comments by U.S. military and legal officials, amounts to a public admission by President Barack Obama's team that delivering on that promise is easier said than done, the Associated Press said.
The delay means that legal action on the detainees' cases would continue to be on hold.
AP reported the story noting that the sourced U.S. officials were not authorized to discuss the delay publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
One official said the Obama administration planned to ask Congress to revamp the existing military tribunals system created for the detainees.
AP noted that critics of former President George W. Bush have said the system violates U.S. law because it limits the detainees' legal rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder said at a recent House hearing that military commissions still could be used but "would be different from those that were previously in place."
Holder also announced earlier this week that about 30 detainees have been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay but said that the U.S. has not decided exactly what to do with them.
The story comes as Holder has been visiting European leaders earlier this week asking for help relocating detainees.
The Obama administration has maintained that a number of the remaining Guantanamo detainees can be set free safely.
There are 241 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility.
(Report from newswire sources.)
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