Bill prohibiting indefinite detention in US proposed by two lawmakers


Two Democratic members of Congress unveiled a bill Thursday that would prohibit the indefinite detention of any suspected terrorist apprehended in the United States.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado said the legislation would ensure that anyone captured, detained, or arrested in the United States on suspicion of terrorism will go through the civilian justice system and be provided due process rights awarded under the Constitution, CNN reported.

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The legislation would not apply to suspected terrorists captured overseas being held at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to CNN.

"On the books, we have a law that gives the executive branch the power to indefinitely detain people here in the U.S., even U.S. citizens, and we believe we should take that off the books," the Huffington Post reported Smith saying at a Capitol Hill news conference.

The power of military authorities to arrest and jail people as long as they want stems from Congress' 2001 joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists, but was explicitly codified into law last year after President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act on New Year's Eve, according to the Huffington Post.

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Civil libertarians on the left and right have been sharply critical of the law, even though the president promised not to grab Americans, Huffington Post reported.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., was concerned the new legislation would “go too far” by eliminating the option of military custody, spokesman Claude Chafin told The Hill news blog.

The Obama administration has not yet taken a position on the proposal, according to The Hill.

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