December 26, New York – In response to President Obama’s signing, today, of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
We look forward to President Obama using the eased restrictions in the new NDAA to accelerate the process of transferring men out of Guantanamo that he began under the previous version of the law. In the New Year, he should focus his attention on the 79 men – half of the remaining population – who have been approved for release for years, the majority of whom are Yemeni, as well as the men who may be cleared by the new Periodic Review Board. Despite President Obama’s announcement in May that he would lift his self-imposed ban on transfers to Yemen, seven months later not a single Yemeni has been released. The transfers of two men to Saudi Arabia last month show that men can be sent to that country. Many of the Yemeni men at Guantanamo have significant family ties to Saudi Arabia and could be responsibly transferred there. We hope that President Obama will make swift use of the new NDAA provisions to actually act on his removal of the ban.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last 11 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. Among other Guantanamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantanamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. In addition, CCR has been working through diplomatic channels to resettle men who remain at Guantanamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.
December 31, 2013