April 4, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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> Blog: Gitmo Hearings Resume
> News: Supreme Court Should Declare Guantánamo Bay Military Commissions Illegal
> Lawsuit: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld


NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union will be observing the military tribunals that resume this week at the Guantánamo Bay navy base. The Pentagon is moving forward with the hearings even though the legitimacy of the hearings is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
Jamil Dakwar, a staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Working Group, is attending the hearings and will post his observations to the ACLU's blog at: blog.aclu.org 
 
"The military commissions at Guantánamo are, at best, a legal black hole where detainees are not afforded anything remotely resembling due process," Dakwar said. "The current tribunal system allows abuses of power to go unchecked, and is fundamentally at odds with the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law."
 
So far, only 10 men have been formally charged with crimes out of about 500 detainees currently being held at Guantánamo. The lack of due process at the camp, and revelations of detainee abuse, have led to calls to close the camp from officials and human rights groups around the world.
 
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on March 28 in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which challenges the commissions established by President Bush as inconsistent with the Geneva Conventions and unauthorized by Congress. The ACLU filed a brief with the Court in January arguing that congressional authorization cannot be presumed in the absence of a clear statement for two basic reasons. First, the commission rules do not guarantee either independence or impartiality, and are therefore deficient under any recognized legal standard. Second, the commissions discriminate against non-citizens in unprecedented fashion.
 
For the ACLU blog, go to: blog.aclu.org
 
For links to ACLU's brief in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the ACLU's blog on the Supreme Court arguments, go to: www.aclu.org/ scotus/2005 /hamdanv.rumsfeld05184 /24755prs20060328.html

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