Center for Constitutional Rights Issues Statement in Support of New NGO Formed by Men Who Were Imprisoned in Guantánamo

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CONTACT:   press@ccrjustice.org

July 30, 2009, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement in support of the launch of the Guantanamo Justice Center, a new Geneva-based nongovernmental organization being established by individuals formerly imprisoned in Guantanamo and their allies. The Guantánamo Justice Center is dedicated to seeking peaceful justice and assistance for those who were imprisoned in Guantanamo and secret prisons, those who remain, and their families, as well as reconciliation for the diverse communities involved in these human rights violations:

The Center for Constitutional Rights applauds the establishment of the Guantanamo Justice Center, co-founded by Sami al Haj and Moazzam Begg and supported by other men formerly detained in Guantanamo and their families and allies.  CCR is honored to join them as colleagues in the struggle to bring justice to all of our communities. For too long, the discussions about Guantánamo have ignored the powerful voices of men who have survived the prison and their families who struggled for years to free them. Their communities have emerged as strong and crucial advocates against torture, arbitrary detention and rendition.  The Guantanamo Justice Center is dedicated to peaceful reconciliation for all of our communities that have felt the impact of the human rights violations in Guantánamo and other prisons. Political leaders, journalists, investigators, advocates, historians and others will find the Guantánamo Justice Center an invaluable resource. 

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo in the United States for the last seven years – sending the first habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with a former CIA “ghost detainee” there. CCR is responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. CCR also represents former detainees seeking justice for their abuse and wrongful detention. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the approximately 60 men who remain at Guantánamo 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. 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.