21 May 2009

Closure of Guantanamo detention centre blocked

7:13 am on 21 May 2009

The United States Senate has overwhelmingly rejected plans to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo Bay and has refused funding to close the prison camp.

Senators voted 90-6 to block the transfer of the 240 inmates who remain at the prison.

The BBC reports they also stalled a request for $US80 million.

Correspondents say the move is a rebuke to President Barack Obama's plans to close the camp by January 2010.

The vote follows a similar decision by the House of Representatives.

FBI Director Robert Mueller earlier told Congress that detainees could support terror in the US if allowed to go free.

Separately, a federal judge said the US can continue to hold some prisoners at Guantanamo indefinitely without any charges.

Democrats and Republicans say there needs to be a better plan for closing Guantanamo, situated on US territory on the island of Cuba.

The detention centre was established by former President George Bush after the 9/11 attacks.

President Obama has said he wants the camp closed by January 2010. Administration officials insist that deadline will be met.