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Man Repatriated from Guantánamo to Algeria Against His Will

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CCR Condemns the Second Forcible Transfer By the Obama Administration

Contact: press@ccrjustice.org

January 6, 2011, New York – In response to news that the Obama administration forcibly sent a man from Guantánamo to Algeria yesterday, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
"The Center for Constitutional Rights condemns in the strongest possible terms the secret forcible transfer of Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed to Algeria. Although Mr. Mohammed has long been cleared of any connection with terrorism and, indeed, prevailed in his habeas corpus case challenging the legality of his detention, we are deeply concerned for his safety upon return to Algeria, including the threat of persecution by private terrorist groups against whom the Algerian government cannot assure his protection. The Algerian government should immediately disclose information concerning Mr. Mohammed’s whereabouts and well-being.
 
Mr. Mohammed’s attorney, Buz Eisenberg, stated in response to the news: “By transferring Mr. Mohammed to Algeria against his will, the administration has once again demonstrated an appalling disregard for the rule of law.  On November 5, Mr. Mohammed asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the legality of this very transfer.  By forcibly and secretly sending Mr. Mohammed to a place to which he did not want to go, even while the Supreme Court was considering his petition, the administration has again declared itself above the law.”
 
CCR supports the ongoing efforts of the U.S. State Department to close Guantánamo Bay, particularly in the face of unyielding resistance from Congress.  However, the solution does not rest on forcing detainees to return to countries where they present credible, particular fears of torture and persecution.  
 
This is the second forcible repatriation under the Obama administration, the first of which, of Abdul Aziz Naji, the New York Times called an “act of cruelty that seems to defy explanation.”  The government should refrain from further forcible transfers to Algeria, including of men who have other actual, viable resettlement opportunities.
 
Attorneys for Mr. Mohammed fought tirelessly for their client over the course of many years.  We admire their selfless dedication, and our thoughts are with Mr. Mohammed in Algeria.
 
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last nine 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. 

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.