Attorney General Says Guantánamo Closure Will Likely Be Delayed

October 6, 2009 12:00 am

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

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NEW YORK – According to news reports, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said it is unlikely the Obama administration will meet its January deadline for closing the Guantánamo prison camp. According to prior reports, the delay is 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 very concerned by Attorney General Holder’s announcement that the Obama administration will miss its January deadline for closing 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 shut down as soon as possible.

“However, as important as when Guantánamo is closed is that it is closed right. With the closure of Guantánamo must also come the end of 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 elsewhere.

“If there is evidence to support allegations that the men detained in Guantánamo 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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