December 9, 2013, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement by CCR Senior Attorney J. Wells Dixon in response to the announcement of a bipartisan agreement in Congress on the new Guantanamo transfer provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act.
The loosening of foreign transfer restrictions from Guantanamo is a positive development, but new legislation is not needed to close Guantanamo. What’s needed is a comprehensive, sensible plan by the Obama administration that ensures respect for the human rights of the detained men. Regrettably, at a time when Congress is slowly moving in the right direction on transfers, the Obama administration took two giant steps backward last week by forcibly repatriating two men to Algeria where they fear persecution. One of them, my client Djamel Ameziane, had been offered resettlement by Luxembourg in 2010. He is now in secret detention in Algeria rather than free in Europe. The Obama administration must do better than treat detainees as numbers on a spreadsheet, whose lives are occasionally ruined for minimal, short-term political gain.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for nearly 12 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.