Constitution Project Marks Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Anniversary

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matthew Allee
(202) 580-6922 or
mallee@constitutionproject.org

Constitution Project Marks Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Anniversary

As President Obama moves to close the facility, adherence to constitutional principles is vital

WASHINGTON -  Today marks the eight-year anniversary of the establishment of the
detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. During his
presidential campaign, President Obama often pledged to close the
facility and end the military commissions taking place. On his second
full day in office, the president signed an executive order promising
to close the detention facility within one year. It is now acknowledged
within the administration that this deadline will not be met, but the
president and his advisors continue to pledge their commitment to
closing the facility.
 
The following can be attributed to Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project:
 
"The
Obama administration is committed to closing Guantanamo, and the
Constitution Project has long advocated that the detainees be
prosecuted in the federal courts, not in military commissions, and that
the administration should reject indefinite detention without charge.
Our federal courts have a proven track record of successfully handling
the most sensitive terrorism cases, as have our federal prisons in
holding suspects pre-trial and post-conviction. Military commissions
and indefinite detention without charge are inconsistent with the
constitutional values the president and his advisors swore to uphold.
 
"There
is significant bipartisan support for the return to our nation's
constitutional principles in determining what to do with those still
detained at Guantanamo, some for nearly eight years now. The Obama
administration should reject the failed policies that have gotten us no
closer to closing Guantanamo, led us away from our nation's values, and
damaged our security and international reputation. The president should
rely on the respected leaders with relevant experience in these matters
who strongly recommend adhering to the rule of law."
 
In November, over 120 prominent Americans released Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration,
calling on the Obama administration and Congress to support a policy
for closing Guantanamo that is consistent with our constitutional
principles and ensures our country's security. An effort coordinated by
the Constitution Project and Human Rights First and joined by former
members of Congress, diplomats, federal judges and prosecutors,
high-level military and government officials, as well as national
security and foreign policy experts, bar leaders, and family members of
9/11 victims, the Declaration supports federal court
prosecution of terrorism suspects and opposes indefinite detention
without charge. There are now nearly 140 signatories to the Declaration.
 
In recent days, signatories to the Declaration
have rejected criticism of the Obama administration's decision to
prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged with the failed Christmas
day airline bombing, in a federal court in Michigan. Former Republican
members of Congress Bob Barr and Mickey Edwards have posted blog pieces
rejecting these critics' scare tactics, while former Michigan U.S.
Attorneys James Brady and Richard Rossman voiced their support for
Abdulmutallab's prosecution in federal court in a recent opinion piece
in the Detroit Free Press.
 
To view Mr. Edward's blog post on The Atlantic, go to:
http://correspondents.theatlantic.com/mickey_edwards/
 
To view Mr. Barr's two postings on the Atlanta Journal Constitution, go to:
http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/
 
To view Mr. Brady and Mr. Rossman's opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press, go to:
http://www.freep.com/article/20100111/OPINION05/100111063/1336/OPINION/American-values-v.-Abdulmutallab
 
Lastly, to view Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration and a list of its signatories, go to:
http://www.constitutionproject.org/detail.asp?id=75

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The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at http://constitutionproject.org/.

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