Algerian Former Detainee Released to Family; Rights Group Calls on Algeria to Ensure His Ongoing Safety; Says U.S. Should End Practice of Forcible Repatriations

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Jen Nessel, (212) 614-6440; David Lerner, Riptide Communications, (212) 260-5000

Algerian Former Detainee Released to Family; Rights Group Calls on Algeria to Ensure His Ongoing Safety; Says U.S. Should End Practice of Forcible Repatriations

NEW YORK - Today,
the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement
concerning the Algerian government's release of former Guantánamo
detainee Abdul Aziz Naji:

CCR
has confirmed that shortly after publication of the lead editorial in
yesterday's New York Times former Guantánamo detainee Abdul Aziz Naji was released from secret detention
in Algeria.  Mr. Naji reported to his U.S. attorneys this morning that he
was treated well while in detention. 

Although
we are relieved that Mr. Naji was not abused and is safely home with his
family, his public appearance discredits the Algerian government's
previous denial that it was detaining him. 

Algeria
now must ensure Mr. Naji's safety and well-being, including by protecting
him from extremists who might seek to cause him harm, and allow him to begin
the slow process of rebuilding his life.

The
U.S. State Department never should have put Mr. Naji at risk of disappearance
and persecution by transferring him to Algeria against his will.  It was
illegal, and it was bad policy at a time when our country needs the support of
Arabs and Muslims around the world.

Forcible
repatriation is not the solution to Guantánamo Bay.  The U.S. State
Department should safely resettle any detainees who fear repatriation to their
home countries, including Algeria.

In
addition, Algeria should commit to not accepting men who do not wish to return
there out of fear for their safety.

CCR has led the legal battle over
Guantanamo for the last eight years - sending the first ever habeas
attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with an individual
transferred from CIA "ghost detention" to Guantanamo.  CCR has
been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers
across the country 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 30 men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot
return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

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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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