WASHINGTON - JULY 13 - The
American Civil Liberties Union applauds today’s filing of an amendment to the
Department of Defense authorization bill that would close the detention facility
at Guantanamo Bay. As the Senate debates the defense measure, which authorizes
the Department of Defense for the next fiscal year, the American public is
ensured that a debate and vote on the closure of Guantanamo Bay will now occur.
The amendment was put forth by Senators Feinstein, Harkin, Dodd, Clinton, Brown,
Bingaman, Kennedy, Whitehouse and Obama.
“For over five years now,
Guantanamo Bay has tarnished America’s image and diminished our ideals. Its
closure is long overdue and welcomed by the ACLU,” said Caroline Fredrickson,
director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The establishment of such a
detention facility for the sole purpose of indefinitely holding individuals was
inexcusable policy to begin with. Every day Guantanamo stays open, the United
States is being led further away from the founding principles of our great
nation – liberty, freedom and justice for all. The Senate cosponsors should be
commended for taking action to prevent the further erosion of our fundamental
The amendment will
effectively close the detention facility within a year and prohibit the transfer
of those being held by the U.S. to facilities outside the continental United
States. It also requires the Bush administration to send a report to Congress
within 90 days, outlining its plans for the remaining detainees.
amendment is a welcome first step towards shutting down Guantanamo Bay and
restoring the rule of law in America,” said Christopher Anders, ACLU Legislative
Counsel. “It’s a great start, although further action will be required to impose
clear limitations on the executive branch in order to stop any further problems.
The next step is to ensure that those currently being held at Guantanamo, upon
being transferred to the United States, are then either charged with a crime and
tried, or sent to countries where we are certain they will not be tortured.
After lots of talk and promises on shutting down Guantanamo, this legislation
will finally close its doors forever.”