CCR Guantánamo Attorneys Criticize Obama Plan for Closing Prison

February 23, 2016, New York – In response to the release of President Obama’s new plan to close Guantánamo, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

This is not a plan to close Guantánamo. It lays out several obvious steps that the Center for Constitutional Rights has long called for, and that the Obama administration has long reneged on – finally releasing the men who have been cleared for transfer, most for years, and strengthening and speeding up the Periodic Review Board process – but talk is cheap. Unless the Obama administration shows real will and dramatically steps up its efforts on these basic fronts, men whose detentions the administration itself has determined are unnecessary, who have already been imprisoned for 14 years, will continue to languish long after President Obama has left the White House. This is senseless and cruel. The 35 men currently approved for transfer must be transferred without delay – we would expect by mid-summer.  And the administration must ensure that every man still waiting for a PRB – unbelievably, as many as 33 – is reviewed in time to have an actual chance at being transferred this year.  We need to be clear: any detainees not reviewed before President Obama leaves office are not those the administration believes “too dangerous to release,” but men whose status it hasn’t reviewed for over six years, since 2009, whom it simply didn’t get to in the PRB line.

Meanwhile, the centerpiece of the plan – moving those detainees who have not been and will never be charged with any crime to a prison in the U.S. – does not “close Guantánamo,” it merely relocates it to a new ZIP Code. The infamy of Guantánamo has never been just its location, but rather its immoral and illegal regime of indefinite detention. Closing Guantánamo in any meaningful sense means putting an end to that practice.

For a detailed analysis, see CCR’s position on each aspect of the plan.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for 14 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating the work of 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 for their illegal treatment in international courts.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

February 24, 2016