The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

AIUSA media office, 202-544-0200

Amnesty International Welcomes Habeas Corpus Hearings

Human Rights Organization Hails the Return to the Rule of Law; Urges the US Government to Respect Judge’s Decision


Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement following the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decision to grant the release of five detainees held at the U.S.-controlled detention facility at Guantanamo Bay based on insufficient evidence to consider them enemy combatants. The sixth detainee was determined to be an enemy combatant due to additional corroborating evidence.

"Finally, after more than six years of legal wrangling, numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions and delays, Guantanamo detainees received their day in court. This habeas corpus hearing is a victory for the rule of law. This hearing is a direct result of the June 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found that, under the U.S. Constitution, detainees at Guantanamo have the right to habeas corpus.

"With today's decision, Judge Richard J. Leon strikes another blow to the Bush administration's deeply flawed policies of indefinite detention, ill-treatment and injustice.

"In an unusual move, Judge Leon asked the U.S. government to seriously consider the available evidence before pursuing an appeal. Amnesty International urges the United States to heed the judge's words, free these detainees and allow these men to rebuild their lives."

Amnesty International has long called for the U.S. government to close Guantanamo and either fairly try or release the remaining detainees. The human rights organization urges President-elect Barack Obama to announce a date for the closure of Guantanamo, issue an executive order to end torture and support a commission of inquiry during his first 100 days in office.

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.