Rights Groups Mark Beginning of a Decade of Wrongful Detentions at Guantánamo and Demand Obama Close Island Prison with Justice

For Immediate Release

Rights Groups Mark Beginning of a Decade of Wrongful Detentions at Guantánamo and Demand Obama Close Island Prison with Justice

Rally in Front of White House to Close Guantánamo Bay Followed by Procession to DOJ

WASHINGTON - As the prison at Guantánamo enters its 10th year, Amnesty
International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against
Torture, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the Center for
Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
and other human rights
groups called on President Obama to close the U.S. detention center at
Guantánamo Bay with justice at a rally in front of the White House. They
closed the rally by reading a message from Omar Deghayes, a man who was
arbitrarily detained at Guantánamo without charge for 6 years before
being allowed to return to his home in England. Mr. Deghayes’ statement
is viewable on CCR’s website here. After the rally, activists
representing the 173 men still at Guantánamo marched in orange jumpsuits
to the U.S. Department of Justice, where they held a vigil.

The groups are calling on President Obama to end indefinite arbitrary
detention and unfair military commissions trials at Guantánamo Bay, and
to either charge and fairly try or release the detained men. The rights
groups demanded the president re-commit to rapidly closing Guantánamo,
lift the blanket ban on all repatriations to Yemen, and continue to make
diligent efforts to resettle the many men who cannot return to their
home countries for fear of torture and persecution.

CCR, AI-USA, WAT and the Center for Justice and International Law
(CEJIL) released a “Close Guantánamo with Justice” statement that is
gathering support from prominent human rights organizations, activists,
scholars, artists, writers, and torture survivors from all around the
world—including the United States, Latin America, the Middle East,
Europe, Australia, and Africa. The statement includes a plea to the
international community to offer homes to the men at Guantánamo who have
been cleared for release or won their habeas cases, but cannot leave
until third countries make humanitarian gestures to offer them
resettlement. The statement and list of signatories is available on the
CCR website here.

Said Pardiss Kebriaei, Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney representing
men detained at Guantánamo, “Approximately 30 men could be released
from Guantánamo tomorrow but for a fear of torture or persecution in
their home countries. These men appeal to the international community
for help in offering them safe havens and a chance to rebuild their
lives.  People of conscience in the world cannot let yet another
anniversary of Guantánamo pass without doing something to help close
it.  Offering resettlement is a key part of the solution.”

Said Valerie Lucznikowska, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows,
"Our politicians must stop exploiting our grief and our concern for our
safety for political ends. The rule of law, the essence of a democratic
society, demands Constitutional federal trials of those who continue to
be detained in Guantánamo.  We cannot continue to deny human beings
their freedom without legal charges and fair trials. Those who have been
cleared must not continue to be held simply because of their
nationality or the U.S. government's indecisiveness. Guantánamo has made
us less safe. Close it.”

Said Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA's advocacy and policy director of terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights, "For
nine years Guantánamo has been a global symbol for injustice and abuse.
The idea that you can't hold people indefinitely without trial has been
around since the Middle Ages. It is a basic human right. President
Obama continues to promise change, but what this administration has
actually delivered is continuity for one of the darkest chapters in
America's recent history."

Said Matthew W. Daloisio, organizer with Witness Against Torture. "The
Obama administration's failure to close Guantánamo and undo Bush-era
policies is a disaster for the rule of law, the best American ideals,
and the security of people everywhere who want to live in peace. This is
not about the politics of Left and Right; it's about what's right and
wrong. Guantánamo, abusive treatment, and indefinite detention are
wrong, and must once again be decisively rejected."

Said Andy Worthington, British author and Guantánamo expert,
“One year after President Obama promised to have closed Guantánamo 173
men are still there, the majority of whom should never have been held in
the first place. Without concerted action from the American people it’s
very possible the majority will never be released.”

Said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), “Indefinite
detention at Guantánamo will not end unless the international community
offers safe homes for the men who cannot return to their countries of
nationality for fear of torture or persecution. As co-counsel with the
Center for Constitutional Rights before the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights, representing Djamel Ameziane—an Algerian man now entering
his tenth year of arbitrary detention at Guantánamo, who will remain
indefinitely imprisoned until a third country offers him resettlement—we
call on President Obama to initiate dialogue with the Organization of
American States so that countries in the Americas wishing to be involved
in the resettlement process as a humanitarian gesture may do so.”

To read the sign-in statement click here.

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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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