Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to reports that the Obama Administration is preparing an Executive Order to formalize indefinite detention without charge or trial for certain unnamed Guantanamo detainees.
The assertion that 48 men currently detained at Guantánamo can be held indefinitely without charge or trial confirms that the Obama administration is more concerned with the rhetoric of closing Guantánamo rather than actually ending the fundamental abuse of power and law that define its existence. The administration argues that indefinite detention is necessary for “people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases, because evidence may be tainted, but who, nonetheless, pose a threat to the security of the United States.” What the Obama administration continues to obscure is that evidence “tainted” by torture or coercion is no evidence at all. If a person cannot be proven guilty in a court of law based on legitimate evidence, then they must be released.
Those detained at Guantanamo must be charged in federal courts or released; there is no legitimate third category of individuals who can be held indefinitely without perpetuating the egregious abuses of that island-prison, further damaging our democratic institutions and threatening our collective safety.
If the Obama administration succeeds in establishing indefinite detentions on U.S. soil, it will be difficult to hold the line at the 48 men at Guantanamo. This proposal lays the groundwork for U.S. prisons to become places where people from around the world are brought and imprisoned without charge or trial, eroding our Constitution and adherence to international law beyond recognition.
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. For more information, visit <ccrjustice.org>.