June 30, 2015, New York – Today, attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) responded to the Obama administration’s long-awaited announcement that it had appointed a new official at the State Department tasked with facilitating the closure of Guantanamo. The position had been vacant for the last six months.
We welcome the appointment of Lee Wolosky as the State Department’s Special Envoy for the Closure of Guantanamo. This position, which has regrettably remained vacant since Cliff Sloan's departure in December 2014, is critical to ensuring the resettlement and repatriation of the men in Guantanamo – particularly the dozens who have been cleared for release and are now in their 14th year of detention without charge. We hope that Mr. Wolosky will also use his position to help speed up the frustratingly slow pace of the Periodic Review Boards, which are tasked with assessing whether additional detainees can be cleared for transfer.
We look forward to working closely with Mr. Wolosky to facilitate the release and reintegration of our clients, including Tariq Ba Odah, Ghaleb Al-Bihani and Fahd Ghazy, who have all been cleared for transfer and are strong candidates for repatriation or resettlement. Mr. Wolosky will need to break through the logjam within the Department of Defense in order to generate and maintain increased momentum on transfers, and ultimately to ensure the just closure of Guantanamo by the end of President Obama’s term.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for more than 13 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. CCR is responsible for many Guantanamo cases in many venues, representing men in their habeas cases in federal court and before the military commissions and Periodic Review Boards, the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking accountability in international courts.
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. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.
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.