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Prominent Illinois Former Prosecutors and Judge Declare U.S. Prisons Fit to House Guantanamo Detainees

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Earlier today, in an effort coordinated by the Constitution Project, three signatories to Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration sent an open letter to the Illinois congressional delegation and the state's public officials supporting the use of federal and state prisons, including the Thomson, Illinois facility, to house Guantanamo detainees pre-trial and post-conviction. Signed by Abner J. Mikva, former Illinois member of Congress and former federal judge, Thomas P. Sullivan, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Dan K. Webb, also a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the letter states, in part:

"We write to support the use of federal and state prisons, including the one at Thomson, IL, to house Guantanamo detainees pre-trial and post-conviction. We support trials for the detainees in our federal courts, which means that they must be brought to the U.S. to stand trial and thus must be housed in appropriate prisons in this country.

"While we oppose military commissions and preventive detention, and thus also oppose using prison facilities in connection with these purposes, we strongly reject charges that our country's prisons cannot securely hold terrorism suspects or other dangerous individuals...We urge the elected officials of Illinois to reject the irresponsible fear-mongering and partisan politics that have bogged down the inevitable, and necessary, closing of Guantanamo."

Mikva, Sullivan, and Webb have joined with 133 other prominent Americans in issuing Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration, supporting trials in federal courts for the detainees and future terrorism suspects and opposing preventive detention. The Declaration is signed by former federal prosecutors, judges, diplomats, members of Congress, and other government officials from the Kennedy to the George W. Bush administrations, as well as foreign policy and national security experts, military and bar leaders, and family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks.