President Obama To Order Guantánamo Closed

January 21, 2009 12:00 am

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Draft Executive Order Also Calls For Suspension Of Unconstitutional Military Commissions

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WASHINGTON – The new Obama administration circulated a draft executive order Wednesday calling for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp within a year and halting all military commission trials in the meantime.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“This is the first ray of sunlight in what has been eight long years of darkness, of trampling on America’s treasured values of justice and due process. The order is remarkable in its timing and its clear intent to close down Guantánamo and unequivocally halt the Bush administration’s shameful military commissions. While the order leaves some question as to how some detainees will be released or prosecuted, we trust that’s not President Obama’s intent and hope that any ambiguity is due to the fact that this order was done on day one in record time. We are confident that President Obama understands that indefinite detention without trial must end once and for all and that detainees should be either prosecuted in a federal court or, if there is no evidence against them, released or transferred to countries where they will not be tortured. Our centuries-old justice system is well-equipped to handle these cases, and it’s a great relief to finally have a president who is committed to upholding American values and the rule of law. Although we have a long road ahead to get to an America we can be proud of again, change has begun.”

The ACLU, through its John Adams Project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has sponsored civilian attorneys who have been assisting the under-resourced military defense counsel at Guantánamo.

A copy of the draft executive order can be found online at:

More information about the ACLU’s work to close Guantánamo can be found online at:

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