CCR Criticizes Announcement that GTMO Detainees Will Be Moved to Illinois Prison

For Immediate Release

CCR Criticizes Announcement that GTMO Detainees Will Be Moved to Illinois Prison

WASHINGTON -  In response to the announcement Tuesday that the Obama administration
would be transferring detainees from Guantánamo to the Thomson
Correctional Center in Illinois, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Executive Director Vincent Warren issued the following statement:

"If President Obama is simply moving detainees from one Guantánamo to
another, he has done nothing to honor his pledge to close the prison
camp. The vast majority of detainees remaining at Guantánamo will never
be charged with anything. Yet the president has made clear that he
believes he can continue to hold these men, most of whom have already
been in Guantánamo for eight years and should never have been detained
in the first place, for as long as he wants without any trial
whatsoever.

"Moving the Guantánamo system onshore is not change. Whether in
Thomson, IL, at Guantánamo, or elsewhere, the very idea that we would
toss aside our founding constitutional principles and allow any
executive the power of kings to imprison someone forever without a
trial is anathema to democracy.

"The Obama administration has already cleared for release at least
116 of the 210 men who remain at Guantánamo. Many of them have nowhere
to go because they are from countries that routinely engage in torture
and other human rights abuses. Will they now be subject to inhuman
conditions of solitary confinement in a maximum security facility
despite the fact that they will never be charged with anything and have
been approved for release? For them Thomson, Illinois may be worse than
Guantánamo.

"While the fear-mongering over bringing any of the men to the U.S.
is opportunistic and entirely political, we cannot support this latest
move merely to shut down the symbol of Guantánamo without dismantling
the injustice of Guantánamo. A change of scenery does nothing to
restore the rule of law."

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last seven
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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