US jail may hold Guantanamo inmates

White House could transfer up to 90 detainees to Illinois prison, media reports say.

    A portion of the nearly-empty Thomson prison could house up to 90 Guantanamo inmates [GALLO/GETTY]

    Guantanamo closure

    Barack Obama, the US president, has said he is likely to miss a self-imposed
    January 2010 deadline for closing the facility, as his administration has struggled to find a way to deal with the 210 detainees still held there.

    Robert Gates, the defence secretary, said earlier this month that the administration is ready to transfer 116 detainees from Guantanamo, but it has proved difficult to find third countries to provide asylum to prisoners who could face persecution at home.

    Republicans and others have criticised plans to bring prisoners to the US and try them in civilian courts, saying it would be a security risk.

    But in Illinois, Pat Quinn, the governor, and Richard Durbin, the senator, have lobbied the White House to use the Thomson prison to house Guantanamo detainees, believing it would revive the facility and create jobs.

    Thomson Correctional Centre has remained essentially vacant since it was opened eight years ago due to budgetary constraints.

    Durbin and Quinn said the facility would be turned into a federal maximum security prison, and a portion of it would be leased to the defence department to house Guantanamo detainees.

    The Guantanamo Bay detention centre was opened in 2002 to house "terrorism" suspects after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the US.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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