The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

CCR Denounces Blanket Decision Not to Release Guantanamo Detainees to Yemen

Dozens of Yemenis Cleared for Release By Review Task Force in Limbo


In response to news that President Obama has decided to suspend all transfers of detainees from Guantanamo to Yemen, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

Dozens of men from Yemen who have been cleared for
release after extensive scrutiny by the government's Guantanamo Review
Task Force are about to be left in limbo once more due to politics, not
facts. Many are about to begin their ninth year in indefinite

Halting the repatriation of Yemeni men cleared by the Task Force after
months of careful review is unconscionable. It will also effectively
prevent any meaningful progress towards closing Guantanamo, which
President Obama has repeatedly argued will make our nation safer.

As we approach the eighth anniversary of Guantanamo and the president's
failed deadline for its closure, it is important to remember that the
vast majority of the men at Guantanamo should never have been detained
in the first place, and that over 550 have been released and are
peacefully rebuilding their lives. Most of the nearly 800 men who were
brought to Guantanamo were not captured by the American military on any
battlefield, but seized in broad sweeps during the chaos of the Afghan
war or in other locations around the world and sold to the U.S. in
exchange for substantial bounties. We know from the military's own
records that most of the detainees at Guantanamo have no link to

When he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama
said, 'We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we
fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when
it's easy, but when it is hard.' What he said in December should be
just a true a month later.

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last seven years -
sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the
first attorney to meet with a former CIA "ghost detainee" there. CCR
has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro
bono lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at
Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal
representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the
approximately 60 men who remain at Guantanamo because they cannot
return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

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. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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