NEWS: GOP turns Gitmo into political asset; court jumps over legal hurdles

Closing Guantanamo lockup looks increasingly unlikely

A lightning rod for international criticism, the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, not long ago appeared headed for closure. President Bush and his top advisors said they wanted to shutter the controversial lockup.

But the latest attempt to shut it down is facing collapse: The detention facility has been embraced by many Republicans as a potent political symbol in their quest to seize the terrorism issue ahead of next year’s elections.

GOP presidential candidates have jockeyed to demonstrate their support for the prison. One candidate has called for doubling its use. Another praised the menu and health plan offered to detainees. [complete article]

Court advances military trials for detainees

A special military appeals court, overturning a lower court ruling, on Monday removed a legal hurdle that has derailed war crime trials for detainees at Guantanámo Bay, Cuba.

The ruling allows military prosecutors to address a legal flaw that had ground the prosecutions to a halt. The decision, by a three-judge panel of a newly formed military appeals court, was an important victory for the government in its protracted efforts to begin prosecuting some of the 340 detainees at Guantánamo. [complete article]

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