Statement by HRF Executive Director Maureen Byrnes on the Fifth Anniversary of Detentions at Guantanamo

The track record of the United States detention program at the Guantanamo Bay naval base can be summed up quite simply: five years, zero convictions.

Instead of advancing American security, the abuses of Guantanamo have stained America’s reputation for justice, fairness, and transparency. And the stain has spread well beyond one corner of Cuba. The shocking abuses at Abu Ghraib came after orders to “Gitmo-ize” operations there. Even among our allies, the word Guantanamo has become a stand-in for attitudes and practices that do nothing to make the world safer, but erode America’s moral standing worldwide.


The administration has committed to trying detainees at Guantanamo by military commissions. Evidence obtained by coercive interrogation could come into these trials. Apart from being obviously unreliable, the use of coerced evidence to obtain a conviction flies in the face of the fundamental principles of American justice. It has no place in U.S. trials at Guantanamo or anywhere else.


Published on January 11, 2007


Seeking asylum?

If you do not already have legal representation, cannot afford an attorney, and need help with a claim for asylum or other protection-based form of immigration status, we can help.