Attorney General Says Guantánamo Closure Will Likely Be Delayed

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Maria Archuleta, (917) 892-9180 or (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

Attorney General Says Guantánamo Closure Will Likely Be Delayed

Prison Should Be Closed As Soon As Possible And In Accordance With Rule Of Law, Says ACLU

NEW YORK - According
to news reports, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said it is unlikely
the Obama administration will meet its January deadline for closing the
Guantánamo prison camp. According to prior reports, the delay is due in
part to the administration’s search for a place to indefinitely
imprison 50 to 60 detainees. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes
the indefinite detention of detainees suspected of terrorism crimes and
challenges the notion that there is any significant category of
detainees who can neither be securely freed or prosecuted in federal
court.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"We are very concerned by Attorney
General Holder’s announcement that the Obama administration will miss
its January deadline for closing Guantánamo, which holds hundreds of
men who have been imprisoned for years without charge or trial and has
become a symbol of lawlessness and cruelty. The prison camp should be
shut down as soon as possible.

"However, as important as when
Guantánamo is closed is that it is closed right. With the closure of
Guantánamo must also come the end of the policies that the prison has
come to represent, such as indefinite detention without charge or
trial. It would be unacceptable to close Guantánamo only to institute
the same policies elsewhere.

"If there is evidence to support
allegations that the men detained in Guantánamo have committed crimes,
the government should file charges and prosecute them in federal
courts, which are perfectly capable of handing terrorism cases while
protecting fundamental rights. In a democracy, there is no room for a
system of detention that allows human beings to be imprisoned
indefinitely without charge or trial."

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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