November 22, 2014, New York – In response to the transfer of Muhammed Murdi Issa Al-Zahrani this morning, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
We are grateful to the government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for accepting this man, who was unanimously approved for transfer from Guantánamo by the Periodic Review Board earlier this year, after more than a decade of indefinite detention without charge or trial.The recent increase in transfers from Guantánamo is a refreshing exercise by President Obama of his existing legal authority to close the prison. He should take advantage of this momentum and waste no time in transferring the remaining men who he does not intend to charge criminally.We reiterate our demand that our Yemeni clients – Tariq Ba Odah, Mohammed Al Hamiri, Fahd Ghazy, and Ghaleb Al-Bihani – be sent home or resettled without delay. The recent transfer of another Yemeni CCR client, Abd Al Hakim Ghalib Ahmad Alhag, proves that when treated as individuals, rather than as an undifferentiated block on the basis of citizenship, these men can be transferred out of Guantánamo and allowed to start rebuilding their lives.Further, President Obama has announced the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan in a matter of weeks, which will finally end the conflict in which most Guantánamo prisoners were captured, and mark the end of any purported authority to continue to detain our clients. All wars must end; the U.S. cannot continue to fight an endless, worldwide war on terror forever.We hope that, with President Obama’s legacy at stake, he will finally do what he promised to do at its beginning of his presidency – close Guantánamo and end indefinite detention.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for nearly 13 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.