Dropped Charges Against Guantánamo Detainees Are Evidence of Failed Policies, Says ACLU
Group Calls on Next President to Close Guantánamo and Repeal Military Commissions Act
NEW YORK - The
government's decision to drop charges against five detainees held at
Guantánamo Bay underscores the complete failure of the indefinite
detention system and the need to shut down the prison and the military
commissions system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to news reports, the charges were dropped after a prosecutor
for another detainee resigned, alleging the military was suppressing
evidence favorable to the defense.
"The implosion of these five
prosecutions painfully underscores how the Bush administration's
torture and detention policies have failed to render justice in any
sense of the word," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the
ACLU. "Any evidence of potential wrongdoing is forever poisoned from
being used in real courts when it is obtained through torture,
waterboarding or rendition. Justice hasn't been served in any
conceivable way by the Bush policies of torture, rendition and
detention without due process. It's failed all the way around and we
need to close Guantánamo and shut down the military commissions."
The ACLU represents one of the
detainees, Binyam Mohamed, in his lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary
Jeppesen Dataplan for its role in the CIA's unlawful extraordinary
rendition program. In 2002, Mohamed was seized in Pakistan,
blindfolded, shackled and flown by the CIA to Morocco, where he was
secretly detained for 18 months and interrogated and tortured by
Moroccan intelligence services, and then transferred to Guantánamo.
In related news, the ACLU expressed
deep disappointment that, despite his stated desire to shut down the
Guantánamo Bay detention facility, President Bush has decided to keep
the facility open. The ACLU called on the next administration and
Congress to close the facility and repeal the unlawful Military
"The Bush administration's decision
to pass the legacy of Guantánamo and the unlawful military commissions
on to the next president only serves to prolong the deeply disturbing
situation there," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU
Washington Legislative Office. "Congress and the next president must
take immediate steps to clean up the mess left by the Bush
administration by repealing the Military Commissions Act and restoring
habeas corpus for all people in detention. It is time to restore the
Constitution and end the indefinite detention of people without charge."
"Every additional day that
Guantánamo Bay remains open is a bad day for America. The detention
center and the sham military commissions occurring there fly in the
face of fairness, due process and the rule of law which form the fabric
of our democracy, our system of justice and American values," added
Romero. "Both presidential candidates have promised that they will
close Guantánamo, which they can and should do on day one of the new
administration. We call on the next president of the United States to
honor this commitment and restore America's reputation throughout the
world by immediately closing Guantánamo and returning to the tried and
true system of conducting prosecutions in civilian or traditional
military courts where the Constitution still means something and where
real justice can be served."
As part of its John Adams Project, a
partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,
the ACLU is sponsoring expert civilian counsel to assist the
under-resourced military defense counsel of some Guantánamo detainees.
More information on the John Adams Project is available online at: www.aclu.org/johnadams
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