Detainee Détente

The Senate voted 79-19 Tuesday to remove an obstacle to Barack Obama’s plan to close the jihadi prison at Guantanamo Bay. The measure would allow the administration to bring foreign terrorism suspects to the U.S., though only if they are to be prosecuted here. The measure was attached to a $43 billion bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. It passed the House last week and now heads to the White House for Obama’s signature. About 220 prisoners remain at the facility.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of 17 Chinese Muslims being held at Guantanamo. The men, Uighurs from western China, were captured in Afghanistan. According to The Hill, “A federal judge ordered the men released last October, but the appeals court reversed that ruling in February, determining that judges do not have the authority to override immigration laws and force the executive branch to release the detainees into the country.” Some of the men have already been sent to Bermuda, while the Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to accept most of the rest, leaving just one seeking a place to go. They fear persecution if returned to China — a legitimate concern.

Speaking of counterterrorism, a report by UN Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin complains that security measures taken against terrorists “risk unduly penalizing transgender persons whose personal appearance and data are subject to change.” Scheinin adds, “This jeopardizes the right of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities to recognition before the law.” Next time a terrorist attack kills Americans, the UN can tell their families it happened because we couldn’t offend a guy running around dressed in drag.

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