Gates seeks $50M to keep detainees in U.S.

April 30, 2009 at 3:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate panel Thursday he has asked for $50 million to build a cell block in the United States for Guantanamo detainees.

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Gates hinted that up to 100 inmates from the base in Cuba could be moved to the United States, The New York Times reported. He said there might be 50 to 100 inmates who could neither be put on trial nor transferred to other countries.

"We have put a plug in the budget for $50 million just as a hedge that would allow us to get started if some construction is needed to be able to accommodate those detainees," Gates said.

President Obama has said he plans to close Guantanamo within a year. The detention center now houses about 250 people, including some who have been deemed to be safe for release but who cannot be returned to their home countries because they might face torture or execution. Some allied countries have said they would be willing to accept some of those inmates, the newspaper said.

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