Guantánamo: there have to be limits, detainees must be released
Last Wednesday, we argued before a federal judge in Washington D.C. to challenge Donald Trump's ongoing detention of men at Guantánamo: the 11 petitioners in our case have been detained without charge for over a decade and are without any prospect of release. We argue that their indefinite detention is arbitrary and unlawful, which is why we asked the judge to order their release.
"Our dangerous experiment in indefinite detention, after 16 years, has run its course," said CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy, who argued in court. "Due process of law does not permit the arbitrary detention of individuals, particularly at the hands of a president like Donald Trump, who has pledged to prevent any releases from Guantánamo. That position is based not on a meaningful assessment of any actual threat, but on Trump's animosity towards Muslims, including these foreign-born prisoners at Guantánamo—the height of arbitrariness. Short of judicial intervention, Trump will succeed."
Today, 40 men remain imprisoned, including five CCR clients. In addition to this pending habeas challenge, CCR continues litigating in our military commissions case and engaging in advocacy. Our attorneys Wells Dixon and Shayana Kadidal are travelling down to Guantánamo this week for hearings and client meetings.
The Activist Files, Ep. 4: Molly Crabapple Doesn't Stay in Boxes
Artist, activist, writer: Molly Crabapple joined us on the fourth episode of The Activist Files. Together with Syrian war journalist Marwan Hisham, she co-authored "Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War."
"When we created the first article, we wanted to defy the clichés about what Syria was, what war was. We wanted to show Marwan's city and his neighbors and people as he knew them."
Throughout the years, Molly's work has encompassed many issues, from the refugee crisis in Greece and prisoners' treatment in Guantánamo Bay, to the resistance among prisoners in solitary confinement and the devastating consequences of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Recently, she created a few illustrated art pieces in support of the campaign against Trump's Muslim Ban, and some of her courtroom sketches are included in the documentary The Feeling of Being Watched about the FBI surveillance of an Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago.
Supporting communities against discriminatory NYPD practices
The NYPD needs to reform its stop-and-frisk practices, and the judge overseeing the cases has to push for implementation. That's why, last week, more than 90 organizations, 15 family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD, and others directly impacted by abusive policing supported an amicus brief filed in federal court by Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).
During a formal joint remedial process (JRP) that was ordered by court, community members provided their input as a consequence of the ruling in our federal class action lawsuit, Floyd v. City of New York, and related cases – Ligon v. City of New York and Davis v. City of New York.
While the number of NYPD-reported stops has declined, it has become clear through the process that the NYPD’s self-reported numbers do not accurately reflect reality.
"The decrease in the overall number of stop-and-frisks being reported by the NYPD is inaccurate and presents a false picture of reality on the ground in communities," said Mark Winston Griffith, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform and Executive Director of Brooklyn Movement Center. "The abusive, discriminatory use of stop-and-frisk and trespass enforcement continues, with at least thousands of stops improperly going unreported and thousands more police interactions, practically experienced as stops by civilians, not being accounted for in the data NYPD provides to the public. Racial disparities in who is stopped continue – overwhelmingly of Black and Latinx New Yorkers – with the majority of stops still resulting in neither arrest nor summons, constituting unnecessary police intrusions into people's daily lives."
Fighting inhumane conditions for California prisoners
Frontlines of Justice readers will remember our case Askher v. Governor of California, which resulted in a landmark settlement ending indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons. Since the settlement, we have been working to enforce its provisions, so that the protections that exist on paper actually improve the lives of prisoners. Recently, we have argued that the conditions many prisoners live in are essentially the same as those in the Security Housing Unit (SHU). Their out-of-cell time was less than 10 hours a week, while they had restricted social interaction, programming, outdoor time, and contact with family and friends. Last week, the judge ruled that these conditions clearly violate the terms of the settlement. Similarly, the judge ruled that California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's use of "walk alone" status in the Restricted Custody General Population unit violates the settlement agreement. We are set to meet with the California Department of Corrections about possible remedies.