Center for Constitutional Rights Says President Lacks Authority to Detain Prisoner
November 30, 2016, Washington – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit challenging the ongoing detention of Guantánamo prisoner Guled Hassan Duran, a 43-year old Somali citizen. Duran was captured in Djibouti and rendered to the CIA in March 2004, according to the declassified executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. He was transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006, where he has since been held without charge. The lawsuit challenges the legality of his continuing indefinite detention.
“In the 12 years that Mr. Duran has been held in U.S. custody, neither President Bush nor Obama was willing to charge him with a crime, and yet the government claims the authority to continue imprisoning Mr. Duran indefinitely – perhaps for the rest of his life,” said CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy. “That is an absurd distortion of the constitution and the laws of war. The government will now – finally - have to explain how and why Mr. Duran ended up at Guantánamo, and why he remains there over a decade later.”
Attorneys argue that, whatever the government’s initial justification for detaining Mr. Duran in 2006, that justification has since unraveled. Among other reasons, attorneys point to Mr. Duran’s capture far from the Afghan theater of war in Djibouti, the declared end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, and the reality that any conflict that may persist with the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or successor franchise groups bears no resemblance to the conflict in which the government claims Mr. Duran was captured in 2004. While they do not concede that his detention was ever lawful, attorneys argue that, now, surely, any legitimate reason to detain Mr. Duran has expired under the laws of war.
In January 2010, President Obama’s Guantánamo Task Force designated Mr. Duran for continuing indefinite detention. In August 2016, Mr. Duran appeared before the Periodic Review Board (PRB), which ultimately declined to approve him for release from Guantánamo. The Center for Constitutional Rights criticized the process, noting that he appeared before the PRB without counsel and that the board routinely relies on evidence obtained through torture in making its determination.
For more information and to read today’s filing, visit CCR’s case page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for nearly 15 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.
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.