US Republican Senator John McCain
Source: Press TV
US Republican Senator John McCain has proposed a terrorist detainee amendment that could allow American citizens to be denied a civilian trial and sent to Guantanamo prison camp.
The amendment would technically give the US president and military enormous power to detain terrorism suspects without trial, or try such a person in civilian courts or the military tribunal system.
"An individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat," McCain said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
He added, "We need to take every stop necessary to prevent that from happening, that's for the safety and security of the men and women who are out there risking their lives ... in our armed services.”
However, Republican Senator Rand Paul argued the amendment, and said it "puts every single American citizen at risk" and suggested that if the amendment passes, "the terrorists have won."
“Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won," Paul said.
He argued, "Detaining American citizens without a court trial is not American."
The US detainment facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was established in 2002 by the Bush administration. Almost 800 detainees have been brought to the prison camp since October 7, 2001, when Washington began the war on Afghanistan.
A total of 1,100 US army and navy personnel are engaged in guarding the detainees held in nine separate camps at Guantanamo.
International Red Cross inspectors and released detainees alike have described various acts of torture, including extensive use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, beatings and confinement in small, cold cells.
One of the allegations of abuse at the US camp is the abuse of the religion of the detainees.
According to Amnesty International, of the 173 men currently detained at Guantanamo Bay only three had been convicted under a military commission system, "which failed to meet international fair trial standards."
"Military commission proceedings were conducted in a handful of cases, and the only Guantanamo detainee so far transferred to the US mainland for prosecution in a federal court was tried and convicted,” the international non-governmental organization pointed out.
Upon taking office, Obama signed an executive order to stop military commissions in order to close down the facility by 2010. However, this has not happened yet.