For Immediate Release
US: Make Guantanamo’s 10th Anniversary Its Last
President Obama Should Close Prison, Reject Detention Without Trial
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama’s signing of a bill permitting indefinite detention without trial mere days before the 10th anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at Guantanamo highlights the need for immediate, decisive action to close the detention facility, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Obama on January 10, 2012.
Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that mandate military custody for certain terrorism suspects and codify indefinite detention without trial into US law are a complete rejection of the vision Obama outlined for counterterrorism policy when he took office, Human Rights Watch said. The law effectively operates as a ban on federal court trials by prohibiting the use of defense department funds to transfer detainees to the US. It also makes it difficult, but not impossible, to transfer detainees to their home or third countries. Human Rights Watch called on Obama to seek repeal of those provisions, while interpreting them in a manner consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law.
“The tragedy of Guantanamo is compounded every day it stays open,” said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel and advocate. “This 10th anniversary should mark the moment when the Obama administration seriously commits to closing Guantanamo by seeking to change the law barring federal court trials and by releasing Guantanamo detainees already cleared for transfer.”
Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.