Human Rights First Files Amicus In Ali v. Trump, Challenging Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo

Washington, D.C.Human Rights First this week filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the case of Abdul Razak Ali v. Trump, a case challenging the Trump Administration’s policies of perpetual detention without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay. The amicus brief was prepared by Human Rights First and Covington & Burling LLP.

Ali has been detained at Guantanamo for almost seventeen years, with no meaningful prospect for release. The U.S. government does not intend to charge or prosecute Ali.

“Forty men remain detained at Guantanamo Bay—the vast majority of whom have never been charged with a crime,” argued Human Rights First’s Patricia Stottlemyer, who worked on the brief. “The facility is a national security and human rights disaster, and a dead end for justice.”

The U.S. government argues that Ali’s detention is lawful, partly because the Guantanamo Periodic Review Board (PRB) process exists. The PRB process was created in 2011 to review the necessity of continued detention of Guantanamo detainees who will not be charged or tried in courts or military commissions. But the PRB process, by design, cannot provide any meaningful check on indefinite detention. Further, under the current administration, the PRB process has ground to a halt—no detainee has been cleared for transfer, and even those who were cleared years ago are still stuck at Guantanamo.

In the more than five years since PRB proceedings began, Human Rights First has tracked and observed them from the Pentagon firsthand, analyzing trends and raising awareness of the proceedings and the human rights concerns associated with the continued detention of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

“The Periodic Review Board’s discretionary administrative review of the continued detention of detainees at Guantanamo Bay is inherently limited, deeply flawed, and, under the current administration, a dysfunctional process that only renders decisions in favor of continued detention,” noted the amicus brief. “This Court should not accept the government’s argument that the existence of such a process renders Petitioner’s continued detention—for nearly seventeen years—consistent with the requirements of due process.”



Published on May 24, 2019


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