Sending Guantanamo Detainees To Illinois Raises Novel Legal Issues

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President Obama’s decision to transfer up to 100 terror suspects from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to a maximum security prison in rural Illinois sets the stage for high-stakes legal battles over what additional rights, if any, Al Qaeda suspects are entitled to, the Christian Science Monitor reports. From the moment the detainees set foot on U.S. soil, they will have the ability to tap into the full array of constitutional and other legal protections enjoyed by every American resident.  How broad might those protections be? “It is an unanswered question. We’ve never done this before,” says Duke law Prof. Scott Silliman.

The Obama administration may house some of the detainees sent to Illinois in open-ended military detention without charge. These are the detainees the administration considers too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to send home. Silliman says such an effort will likely spark appeals. “Where is the authority to do that?” he asks. “You are talking about a domestic preventative detention program. I know of no statute that currently authorizes it.”

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