FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Detention facility remains a stain on American values; ACLU urges Congress to close GITMO
Washington, DC - Tomorrow, January 11, 2008, marks six years since men and boys from around the world were first shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, locked up and often abused by the American government. Since that dark day in recent American history, more than 700 people have been detained without due process and not a single trial has been completed. The American Civil Liberties Union reiterates its call to Congress to shut down the detention facility immediately and restore due process rights for those being held.
"After six years of holding these individuals without charge, Guantanamo Bay can be viewed as nothing short of an American dungeon," said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Detainees have been locked up and our government has thrown away the keys, and with it the basic values we hold dear. America does not stand for indefinite detention without charge and the time for Guantanamo Bay to be closed is long overdue."
Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would close the detention facility and restore due process rights to those being held at Guantanamo. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced S. 1469, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Closure Act of 2007. The bill requires the president to close the facility within 120 days of enactment - during which time detainees would be charged and sent to either the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, or transferred to another country that will not torture or abuse them.
"Senator Harkin worked diligently to craft legislation that properly shuts down Guantanamo Bay and ends the indefinite detention of those being held. This is a major step in restoring the American image as a beacon of freedom in the world," said Christopher Anders, legislative counsel for the ACLU. "Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama have all spoken forcefully about shutting down the detention facility during their presidential campaigns but none have yet signed on to Senator Harkin’s legislation. Talk on the campaign trail comes easy, but signing on to the legislation would be a real commitment to shutting Guantanamo Bay."
The ACLU is encouraging demonstrations in cities across America and asking activists to wear orange in protest. For more information on the Guantanamo protests visit: www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/closeguantanamo.html
For more information on the Harkin bill visit: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.1469