US legislators have passed a $662 billion Defense Authorization bill which includes freezing of some Pakistan aid, imposing sanctions on Iran’s central bank, and approving the indefinite imprisonment of suspected terrorists.
President Barack Obama has been against the provision in the bill which deals with the handling and detainment of terrorist suspects.
With 86-13 votes in favor of the bill the Democrat-led Senate passed the bill which had been passed by the House of Representatives a day prior to the approval by the Senate after the White House withdrew their threat of Veto. The bill will now go to President Obama to be signed into law.
The members of the Senate confirmed of having made revisions to the terrorist detainee provision in an effort to avoid the threatened veto.
The provisions of the bill necessitate al-Qaida terrorists to be held in military detention if they are taken into custody when planning an attack on the United States, but for they receive a presidential waiver. It was modified to exempt U.S. citizens from the law. However, under the new legislation, suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens, are not guaranteed a trial, and the language leaves open the possibility of indefinite detention.
The provision in the bill which sets numerous impediments for closing Guantanamo Bay had met with severe criticism from civil liberties groups that vehemently condemned the de facto acceptance of holding suspected terrorists without charge till the end of the “war on terrorism,” which was announced after the September 11, 2001 WTO attacks.
The Spokesman for the President’s office Jay Carney stated before the House vote that Obama, who had threatened to veto earlier versions of the yearly measure, will sign it despite persistent qualms
Obama, who had threatened to veto earlier versions of the yearly measure, will sign it despite lingering misgivings, his spokesman Jay Carney said before the House vote on Wednesday.
The bill also freezes roughly $700 million in aid to Pakistan, until it is promised that the Pakistani government has taken steps to put a stop to militants who use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against US-led forces in Afghanistan.
Report by Radhalakshmi R