Most Guantánamo Detainees Were Not Involved In Plots Against U.S., Report Reveals

May 29, 2010 4:06 pm

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NEW YORK – The large majority of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay were low-level fighters who were not involved in plots against the United States, according to a government report shared with members of Congress this week and first reported on in the Washington Post today. The report by the Guantánamo Review Task Force recommends that 126 of the detainees still held at Guantánamo be transferred to their home countries or a third country and that 36 be prosecuted in federal courts or military commissions. The report also recommends that 48 of the detainees be held indefinitely without charge or trial, because, it concedes, “for many of the detainees, there are no witnesses who are available to testify in any proceeding against them.”

The following can be attributed to Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:

“The United States cannot continue to imprison indefinitely people against whom there is no real evidence of wrongdoing. If there is credible evidence against a detainee, he should be prosecuted in our federal criminal courts. If not, our laws and our values require that he be let go.

“We now know that hundreds of men were wrongly imprisoned at Guantánamo because of the previous administration’s decision to abandon the rule of law. If the Obama administration continues to detain dozens of men on the basis of suspicion rather than evidence, the shameful Guantánamo detention regime will live on even if the prison itself is ultimately closed.

“Federal trials are the only way to achieve justice after all these years. If there is not enough evidence to prosecute a detainee in a federal court, there’s certainly not enough evidence to hold him without trial for the rest of his life.”

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