No president should have the power to declare the entire globe a war zone, seize and detain civilians anywhere in the world, and hold them indefinitely without charge or trial.
But the Bush and Obama administrations have done just that, defining their powers too broadly and claiming the authority to arrest and detain without charge or trial prisoners captured far from any battlefield. As a result of this claimed authority, more than 100 people remain imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.
Our federal courts are well equipped to prosecute terror suspects and handle sensitive national security evidence while protecting fundamental rights. If there is reliable evidence, detainees should be prosecuted in our tried and true justice system. If there is not enough reliable evidence for prosecution, there is certainly not enough to justify locking someone up—possibly forever.
The ACLU fights in courts and advocates with Congress and the executive branch to ensure claims of war-based authority are properly limited to actual armed conflict, to end indefinite detention, and to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay. Imprisoning people indefinitely without charge or trial is unconstitutional, un-American, and an impediment to justice.
- CaseJune 1, 2011
- InfographicNovember 8, 2013
- CaseDecember 11, 2012
- InfographicNovember 5, 2013
- CaseNovember 15, 2011
Coalition Letter on Schiff/Smith Amendment to Strike the Guantanamo Provisions in H.R. 2596, the FY16 Intelligence Authorization ActLetterJune 16, 2015
- News/Press ReleaseJune 10, 2015
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyJune 10, 2015
Coalition Letter Urging a No Vote on Final Passage of H.R. 1735, the FY16 National Defense Authorization ActLetterMay 15, 2015
Coalition Letter on Guantanamo Amendment Votes to H.R. 1735, the FY16 National Defense Authorization ActLetterMay 14, 2015
- LetterApril 16, 2015