Guantánamo 2002 - 2009

January 11, 2007

 

Guantánamo 2002 - 2009

Since January 11, 2002 (pdf), approximately 775 people ranging in age from 13 to 98 have been detained at the military prison complex at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. As of early 2009, approximately 250 remain there. In that time, two trials have been completed in the flawed military commissions system, both ending in convictions that are tainted with illegitimacy.

In addition to attending nearly every military commissions proceeding at Guantánamo since they began in 2004, the ACLU founded the John Adams Project, a partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to sponsor expert civilian counsel to assist the under-resourced military defense counsel of some Guantánamo detainees.

After three Supreme Court decisions rejecting the administration's detention policies at Gitmo, the legal status of the detainees there remains unresolved and the fight continues to end unlawful detention and the denial of due process. The ACLU is calling on President Barack Obama to close Guantánamo by executive order on Day 1 of his presidency and end the military commissions.

GITMO AND THE SUPREME COURT

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Rasul v. Bush
Reviewing a ruling that the federal courts are not entitled to hear a claim that detainees at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba are being held in violation of the Constitution and international law: The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that prisoners seized as potential terrorists and held for more than two years at a U.S. military prison camp in Cuba may challenge their captivity in American courts.

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Challenge to the validity of the military commissions established by President Bush to try detainees as part of the war against terrorism: In a sharp rebuke to the Bush administration, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the military commissions system established by President Bush to try detainees at Guantánamo Bay is unfair and illegal.

Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States
Whether the detainees at Guantánamo can be deprived of any meaningful right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention without charges or trial: In a stunning blow to the Bush administration's failed national security policies, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution applies to the government's detention policies at Guantánamo. The Court concluded that detainees held at Guantánamo have a right to challenge their detention through habeas corpus.

 

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