ACLU Responds To Decision To Halt Guantánamo Transfers To Yemen

For Immediate Release

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Robyn Shepherd, (917) 302-7189 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

ACLU Responds To Decision To Halt Guantánamo Transfers To Yemen

Group Also Decries Court Decision Upholding Sweeping Presidential Detention Powers

NEW YORK - In
a press conference today, President Obama announced that the U.S. will
halt all transfers of Guantánamo detainees to Yemen, potentially
obstructing his expressed intention to close the military prison.
Approximately 35 Yemeni detainees had been cleared for release prior to
today’s announcement.

Also
today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a
Yemeni detainee’s appeal for release from Guantánamo. The court found
that the detention of Ghaleb Nassar Al-Bihani, who has been held
without charge at the prison since 2002, is lawful. The opinion further
suggested that courts could ignore international law.

The following can be attributed to Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:

“While
we appreciate that President Obama stated that he is still determined
to close Guantánamo, the decision to halt all transfers of detainees to
Yemen will prolong a shameful chapter in American history without
making Americans any safer. Continuing to detain individuals who have
been cleared for release simply because they come from a certain
country is unwise, unjust and does absolutely nothing to improve our
security.”

The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:

“After
eight years, the continued detention of prisoners without charge is an
affront to the Constitution. Today's court opinion is a setback to
justice and the rule of law. The unnecessary endorsement of excessive
military detention power and the suggestion that America is free to
defy international law flouts all precedent and, if actually adopted,
would jeopardize America's security as well as its values.”

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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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