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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
President Obama Circulates Draft Order to Close Guantánamo
GTMOP Attorneys Say He Needs to Do Better
NEW YORK - January 21 - Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys for Guantánamo detainees responded today to portions of President Obama's draft executive order to close the offshore prison camp that appeared in the news.
According to accounts, the president will order that Guantánamo "shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order." In addition, President Obama requested yesterday that the notorious military commissions be halted for 120 days while his administration reviews the cases.
CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren issued the following statement:
It only took days to put these men in Guantanamo, it shouldn't take a year to get them out.
We are proud that President Obama made addressing Guantánamo one of his first acts in office. Yet we are disappointed that he outlined no concrete steps for closing the base and gave his administration an entire year to sort out its plans - meaning that some men could have been detained indefinitely in terrible conditions for eight full years. Surely he could do better.
President Obama should commit to dismantling the military commissions, not just suspending them, and to prosecuting any cases before federal criminal courts - real courts with real laws.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last six years - sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with a former CIA "ghost detainee." CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. CCR represented the detainees with co-counsel in the most recent argument before the Supreme Court on December 5, 2007.