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Pentagon Speeds Efforts to Resettle Guantánamo Prisoners Ahead of Vote on Two-Year Transfer Ban

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The Washington Post reports the Pentagon plans to increase its efforts to resettle dozens of detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo in the coming months before Congress can block future transfers and derail President Obama’s plan to shutter the U.S. military prison. As a first step, officials plan to send up to 10 prisoners overseas, possibly in June. In all, the Pentagon hopes that 57 inmates who are approved for transfer will be resettled by the end of 2015. We get reaction from Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, who says the new legislation would make it nearly impossible to close the facility.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, very quickly, Jameel Jaffer, this front-page Washington Post report that, lower down in the piece, mentions that President Obama plans to close Guantánamo, any word on this?

JAMEEL JAFFER: Well, this is very important, because next week the House Armed Services Committee is going to vote on new restrictions on transferring prisoners out of Guantánamo. And if that—if Congress does impose these restrictions—I think what’s being proposed right now is a two-year ban on any transfer from Guantánamo—it’s going to make it literally impossible to close that prison. So it’s very important that the president do everything that he can to prevent those restrictions from becoming law. And it’s also important that anyone who can call their member of Congress do so and make clear that it’s important that legislators vote against those proposed transfer bans. It really would make it very, very difficult to close the prison and to transfer out people who have been cleared for release now for many, many years. At least—about half the people who are still held at Guantánamo have been cleared for release, meaning that six different government agencies have agreed that they don’t belong at Guantánamo. And those are the people whom the government couldn’t transfer if Congress impose these restrictions.

AMY GOODMAN: Jameel Jaffer, I want to thank you for being with us, deputy legal director of the ACLU.

JAMEEL JAFFER: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: When we come back, explosive new video showing extreme violence against a teenage prisoner at Rikers Island in New York. Stay with us.

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