The Obama administration’s recent announcement of the intention to purchase a nearly empty state prison in Thomson, Illinois, and transfer up to 100 prisoners currently held at the Guantanamo Bay prison has caused severe criticism.
Many lawmakers in Washington, mainly from the GOP, have expressed their concerns about the implications of the transfer for national security. Some have also cast doubt on the legality of the proposal.
"Current law prohibits moving these detainees to the U.S. for long-term detention," said Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, adding the government will have to change the law to allow for the arrival of the terrorism suspects from the Cuban base to the U.S. soil.
Meanwhile, human rights organization Amnesty International has criticized the decision for failing to resolve the underlying problems such as the detention of individuals without charging them with a specific crime.
"A fundamental principle of the rule of law is that people cannot be held without charge or trial," stated Tom Parker, the organization’s U.S. director of policy for (counter) terrorism and human rights.
He added that "the founding fathers knew it, the greatest generation fought for it, candidate Obama campaigned for it and the president needs to remember it."
All that the transfer will do will be to "[change] the zip code of Guantanamo," warned Parker.