NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today called for a full and transparent investigation into the death of a Yemeni national held at Guantánamo Bay. Military officials have described the death as an "apparent suicide."
The following can be attributed to Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:
"Tragic deaths like this one have become all too common in a system that locks up detainees indefinitely without charge or trial. There must be an immediate, independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding this apparent suicide and the conditions of confinement at Guantánamo.
"There is no room for a system of indefinite detention without charge or trial under our Constitution. Detainees against whom there is legitimate evidence should be tried in our federal courts – not in the reconstituted military commissions now being proposed. Those against whom there is no legitimate evidence must not be given a de-facto life sentence by being locked up forever."
In January, the ACLU and other leading human rights groups sent a letter to President Obama asking him to grant them full access to the Guantánamo detention center so that they can review the conditions of confinement and make recommendations for revising U.S. detention policies.
The letter to President Obama is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/38600res20090130.html