January 25, 2017, New York – In response to news reports about a new executive order concerning Guantanamo and the CIA torture program, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
We have fought to close Guantanamo Bay and to end torture there since the prison was established in 2002. We will continue to fight for the men held there today, and anyone who may be brought there in the future, regardless of who is president. We will not stop until the prison is closed.
The suspension of all transfers from Guantanamo would place the U.S. in violation of the Geneva Conventions. As Navy Admiral Patrick Walsh concluded in 2009, transfers must continue in order for the U.S. to comply with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
The suspension of transfers pending further review by the Trump administration is also unnecessary. A comprehensive review process already exists, approving detainees for transfer only by consensus of all relevant military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Second-guessing transfers approved through that rigorous inter-agency process serves no security purpose, but would impose punitive, indefinite delays in the release of detainees, many of whom have already endured fifteen years of imprisonment without charge or trial.
The Center for Constitutional Rights also reminds the administration and members of Congress that torture is absolutely prohibited in all circumstances by U.S. and international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. The United States cannot legalize torture by enacting or repealing its laws.
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.
CCR has also filed universal jurisdiction cases seeking accountability for U.S. torture.