Almost half of likely U.S. voters favor banning the transfer of terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp to the United States for any reason, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey.
The survey of 1,000 likely voters, taken Dec. 11 and 12, found that 46 percent favor the ban in proposed legislation before Congress. Just under one-third oppose the ban, while 23 percent are not sure.
Voters remain strongly opposed to trying those suspects in civilian U.S. courts. Almost two-thirds say instead that they should be tried before military tribunals. Only 23 percent prefer civilian courts, and 13 percent are undecided.
Support for the tribunals is up from 54 percent in July 2008 when the first such military trial began at the Guantanamo Naval Base.
The issue has evoked controversy on several fronts, ranging from Barack Obama’s campaign promise to close down Gitmo; to sending those prisoners to prisons throughout the United States, and the tempest over civilian trials. The furor over civilian trials escalated after the first one in which Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted on all but one of 280 counts in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed 224, including 12 Americans.
Another sore point in the controversy is the fact that many of the former detainees return to their homelands and jump right back into the terrorism game.
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