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Clark County Commission takes symbolic stand against ‘indefinite detention’

Clark County commissioners approved on Tuesday a resolution opposing the “indefinite detention” provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The 2012 federal law allows the government to indefinitely detain without a trial U.S. citizens suspected of being part of a terrorist organization. In response, a national organization called P.A.N.D.A., People Against the NDAA, has started lobbying local and state governments to oppose the law.

Daphne Lee, the state director of P.A.N.D.A., had encouraged commissioners to adopt the resolution. The city of Las Vegas adopted the resolution in March.

“So many people feel strongly about this all over the country,” Lee told commissioners before the vote.

About two dozen cities and counties have passed similar resolutions.

Commissioners approved the measure 5-0. Tom Collins and Lawrence Weekly were absent for that part of the meeting.

The resolution doesn’t oppose the defense of the United States or the military, focusing on the “indefinite detention” provision of the act.

The law, for opponents, has raised concerns about due process rights.

The county’s resolution said, in part, that the NDAA could authorize the “indefinite military detention of activists, journalists, lawyers, and other Americans for nothing other than exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly, and association, thus chilling speech and depriving liberty.” The resolution stresses a need to avoid repeating the mistake of incarcerating Japanese Americans during World War II.

After the vote, Tasha Heath, a Las Vegas resident, told commissioners: “You have shown that, on this vote, you are a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani had worked with Lee on the matter and the wording of the resolution.

“Daphne made a good case,” Giunchigliani said.

Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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