Supreme Court Denies Appeals of Guantanamo Detainees; Throws Their Fate Back to President

Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court today declined to review the cases of seven detainees being held at Guantanamo, a decision that Human Rights First notes puts the detainees’ fate back in the hands of the Obama Administration and closes the door on legal remedies that many experts felt would square the military commissions system with the U.S. Constitution. Human Rights First’s Dixon Osburn said, “The fate of the 169 detainees at Guantanamo, the majority of whom have been cleared for release, is now back in the laps of President Obama and Congress. As the war in Afghanistan ends, the Administration must plan for the disposition of all detainees held under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. The President must follow through on his promise to close Guantanamo.” Four years ago, the Supreme Court decided in Boumediene v. Bush that detainees at Guantanamo had the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in court. A D.C. appellate court ruling subsequently created standards of evidence that make it virtually impossible for an innocent detainee to win release. In the case for Adnan Latif, whose appeal the Supreme Court rejected today, the appeals court had ruled that the district court should have given more weight to secret government intelligence reports that Latif may have been seeking military training at an al-Qaeda camp. In another case, the appeals court ruled that circumstantial evidence of terrorism was sufficient for the government to prevail against a detainees claim that he had been unlawfully detained. The Supreme Court denied their appeals without comment. “The promise of due process that was made in the Boumediene case has been broken,” Osburn observed. “It is now up to Congress and the President to take a decisive step. It is time for the government to stop the decidedly un-American practice of detaining without trial men who have never been proven guilty of a crime. President Obama should step up his efforts to find fair ways to resolve all of the remaining Guantanamo cases, whether by criminal prosecution, repatriation to their countries of origin, or resettlement with any necessary security agreements in third countries. And Congress, for its part, should stop playing politics and obstructing him.”


Published on June 11, 2012


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