Indefinite Detention Should End With The Closure Of Guantánamo, Says ACLU

September 25, 2009

Prison Should Be Closed As Soon As Possible And In Accordance With Rule Of Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – According to a Washington Post and ProPublica report, it is unlikely the Obama administration will meet its January deadline for closing Guantánamo. The delay is reportedly due in part to the administration’s search for a place to indefinitely imprison 50 to 60 detainees. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the indefinite detention of detainees suspected of terrorism crimes and challenges the notion that there is any significant category of detainees who can neither be securely freed or prosecuted in federal court.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"We are concerned by reports of possible delays in the closure of Guantánamo, which holds hundreds of men who have been imprisoned for years without charge or trial and has become a symbol of lawlessness and cruelty. The prison camp should be closed as soon as possible.

"As important as when Guantánamo is closed, however, is how it is closed. Closing Guantánamo must include ending the policies that the prison has come to represent, such as indefinite detention without charge or trial. It would be unacceptable to close Guantánamo only to institute the same policies at similar facilities elsewhere in the world.

"We are also deeply troubled by the reported suggestion by administration officials that, even after Guantánamo is closed, as many as 60 terrorism suspects – including individuals with no connection to any conventional battlefield – may continue to be held indefinitely without charge or trial. If there is evidence to support the allegation that these men have committed crimes, the government should file charges and prosecute them in federal courts, which are perfectly capable of handing terrorism cases while protecting fundamental rights. In a democracy, there is no room for a system of detention that allows human beings to be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial."

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