CCR Guantánamo Attorneys Comment After President’s Speech

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jen Nessel, 212.614.6449, jnessel@ccrjustice.org
Alison Roh Park, 212.614.6480, apark@ccrjustice.org
David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000

CCR Guantánamo Attorneys Comment After President’s Speech

NEW YORK - Center
for Constitutional Rights President Michael Ratner
and Managing Attorney for CCR's Guantanamo project Shayana Kadidal
responded with disappointment to President Obama's speech this morning.
CCR represents the detainees at Guantánamo and is part of the key FOIA lawsuit
surrounding the torture photo disclosures.

Ratner and Kadidal were disturbed by the direction the Obama
administration is taking on questions of human rights, transparency,
accountability and the law. CCR's Executive Director, who met with the
president yesterday, briefed his colleagues before boarding a plane this
morning.

Said Ratner, "The
president wrapped himself in the Constitution and then proceeded to violate it
by announcing he would send people before irredeemably flawed military
commissions and seek to create a preventive detention scheme that only serves
to move Guantanamo
to a new location and give it a new name."

Said Kadidal,
"Preventive detention goes against every principle our nation was founded
on. We have courts and laws in place that we respect and rely on because we
have been a nation of laws for hundreds of years; we should not simply discard
them when they are inconvenient. The new president is looking a lot like the
old."

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" there. 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. In addition,
CCR has been working to resettle the approximately 60 men who remain at
Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of
persecution and torture.

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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