WASHINGTON - January 16 -
George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
The undersigned organizations call for the censure of Mr. Charles "Cully" Stimson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, for statements attacking the lawyers who are defending the Guantánamo detainees. Mr. Stimson’s remarks are aimed at chilling the willingness of lawyers to represent those persons imprisoned at Guantánamo, and are contrary to bedrock principles of the right to counsel and the presumption of innocence.
The threats by Mr. Stimson are not subtle. They imply these pro bono lawyers are terrorists. They exhort corporations to pull business from the firms where these lawyers are employed. These remarks are slanderous, and violate the free association rights of these lawyers and their firms.
We are confident that the corporate world will understand that Mr. Stimson's remarks are contrary to fundamental American values and that lawyers who provide representation to Guantánamo detainees, are acting in the best tradition of their profession. The legal profession and the corporate community should speak with one voice and tell Mr. Stimson he has no right to interfere with the relationships these law firms have with their clients.
The Administration should heed the words of Federal Judge Green, who has handled the many habeas petitions, when she said: "I do want to say we are very grateful for those attorneys who have accepted pro bono appointments. That is a service to the country, a service to the parties. No matter what position you take on this, it is a grand service."
The administration must not only disavow these remarks, but Mr. Stimson should be publicly admonished and relieved of his duties for making these allegations and threats.
American Association of Jurists
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
National Lawyers Guild
Society of American Law Teachers
cc: Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Defense Secretary of Robert Gates