NEW YORK, June 13, 2006 – The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement regarding the government filing regarding the deaths of Guantánamo detainees represented by CCR, Salah Ali Abdullah Ahmed Al Salami, Mani Shaman Turki Al-Habardi Al-Utaybi, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani:
It has taken the Bush Administration roughly three days to notify counsel for the deceased detainees of their clients passing. Monday’s filings correct the government’s previous claim that none of the detainees had legal representation, and constitutes an unacceptable delay in notifying American attorneys of their clients’ death. Furthermore, the administration has thus far refused to provide necessary information to confirm all three detainees’ identities to their attorneys, such as photographs or documentation from the base.
The Bush Administration’s denial of due process in Guantánamo is wrong, unconstitutional and counterproductive for U.S. policy. The denial of due process and the conditions at the base, which the Center for Constitutional Rights has documented in numerous court filings, contributed to widespread desperation among the detainees. The Bush Administration has prevented adequate medical treatment and psychological assistance for many detainees, which is required by American and international law, and essential to identifying and treating detainees suffering from the effects of indefinite detention and inhumane conditions.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents over 200 detainees, calls on the administration to allow an emergency, independent inspection of the base to confirm the causes of the death and provide an authoritative determination of the health of all the detainees in Guantánamo. We call for this emergency inspection trip to begin within seven days and to be led by doctors, CCR attorneys and independent, non-government observers who will publicly report on the findings -- to the extent possible with respect to the privacy of affected families. An internal military investigation without independent doctors and attorneys is an insufficient response to this grave situation.
Furthermore, and most fundamentally, the U.S. government must begin the urgent task of closing the entire Guantánamo prison. President Bush’s unlawful Guantánamo policies have already caused irreparable damage to thousands of persons, and his reliance on unlawful detentions continue to weaken the United States, undermining our moral authority around the world and betraying our Constitution.
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 ccrjustice.org.