The Center for Constitutional Rights has been at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantánamo since the prison’s opening, representing dozens of currently and formerly detained men. In 2004 and 2008, we won landmark Supreme Court cases that established U.S. court jurisdiction over the prison and affirmed detainees’ right to habeas corpus review. The Center for Constitutional Rights sent one of the first civilian lawyers to the base and organized a network of hundreds of pro bono lawyers (the “GITMO bar”) to represent the men being detained there. We helped galvanize a global resistance to the flagrant violations of the human rights of the nearly 800 Muslim men and boys who have been imprisoned on the island in a prison designed to exist beyond the reach of law. Through a combination of strategic litigation, policy advocacy, engagement with international human rights bodies, and media and movement-building efforts focused on highlighting the stories and resistance of our clients, we continue working tirelessly to secure their freedom and close Guantánamo.
Twenty years into this fight, the urgency to close Guantánamo could not be greater. Today, in 2022, 39 men remain imprisoned, the majority of them never charged with a crime. Some have been cleared for release by the U.S. government, but continue to languish, ensnared by bureaucratic inaction and politics. We can no longer tolerate the U.S. government’s use of indefinite detention without charge or trial, nor can we tolerate the U.S. government's failure to address the harm it has caused — including the racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim sentiment that Guantanamo’s existence continues to perpetuate.
We continue to call on the Biden administration to bring a responsible end to endless war, dismantle the terrorism framework and the ideologies that underpin war, detention, and impunity, close the Guantánamo Bay prison, and provide victims of the U.S. torture program with accountability and redress.
When President Biden took office in January 2021, he inherited a prison of aging men in rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health for whom continued detention could be a death sentence. Biden has stated his commitment to closing Guantánamo, but his administration must act urgently and boldly in order to do so.