In January 2002, the first prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay Detention Center. Since then, there has been a systematic effort to deprive these detainees of even the most basic legal rights, and strand them in permanent legal no-man’s land.
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on December 31, 2011. The NDAA contains provisions that could allow indefinite and arbitrary military detention, without a trial or day in court, of anyone accused of any “belligerent act” or terror-related offense—including “material support” allegations based strictly on speech or association. It essentially subjects everyone within the US (including citizens, legal residents, and visitors) to the same lawless standards at work in Guantánamo Bay.
The NDAA subjects these individuals to arbitrary detention without trial, denying the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and Sixth Amendment rights to challenge evidence and confront one’s accusers. The NDAA also endangers First and Fourth Amendment rights, because the PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of “material support for terrorism” to include crimes of speech and association even by defendants who neither committed nor ever intended to support violence.
One of the most effective ways to keep public attention on due process is to organize support for local statements or resolutions opposing military detention and supporting the right to trial.
Defending Rights & Dissent has drafted a resolution that gives any city or town the opportunity to raise its voice in defense of due process and the right to trial.
More than a decade after they were brought to Guantánamo, 40 men remain detained there, including five who have been approved by the U.S. government for transfer out of the detention camp. Most of the men have never been charged or convicted of any crime.
Sharqawi Al Hajj is one of Guantanamo’s “Forever Prisoners”. He was taken into custody in 2002, tortured by the CIA and U.S. partner forces until 2004, then transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where he has spent the last 15 years. He has not been charged with a crime.
Supreme Court’s Refusal to Hear Guantanamo “Forever Prisoner’s” Appeal Highlights Need to Repeal AUMF
In an upcoming minibus bill, a longtime opponent of the AUMF, Barbara Lee, has introduced an amendment to repeal the AUMF. A major step toward ending endless wars and forcing the issue of the “forever prisoners” would be repealing.
Defending Rights & Dissent strongly opposes any efforts to expand the military prison at Guantánamo. We reiterate our call for the military prison to be closed, for the AUMF to be repealed, and for the policy of indefinite detention to be rejected.
Activists, Lawyers, Scholars, Military Will Gather to Discuss Guantanamo, Military Commissions, Human Rights and National Security
Join Defending Rights & Dissent, Gitmowatch, George Washington Law School, Witness Against Torture, and Justice for Muslims Collective for NATSECDEF 2018: “Preserving Justice in National Security”. The Conference is free, but you must register to attend.