[News] 'Faces of Guantánamo' By Center for Constitutional Rights

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 14 17:17:14 EDT 2006


'Faces of Guantánamo' By Center for 
Constitutional Rights Offers Rare Glimpse Into Lives of Men at Guantanamo

Attorneys Demand That Congress Not Suspend 
Fundamental Right to Challenge Indefinite Detention


On September 14, 2006, the Center for 
Constitutional Rights released Faces of 
Guantánamo, a report offering a revealing glimpse 
of the lives of men currently detained at 
Guantánamo. While recent news has focused on 
information about the 14 "high-value" detainees 
recently transferred from secret CIA prisons 
abroad to Guantánamo, the realities for more than 
450 detainees already imprisoned at the base have 
been pushed to the background. Faces of 
Guantánamo highlights the cases of nearly thirty 
men who have been held in Guantánamo for nearly 
five years-despite significant evidence that they 
are innocent of any wrongdoing.
Among the men profiled are:

Haji Bismullah, an Afghan who fought against the 
Taliban and served as a provincial government 
official during the transitional Afghan government;

Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese relief worker, 
whose detention was described as "unconscionable" 
by a military official at his Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT);

Dr. Hafizullah Shaba Khail, an Afghan who was the 
victim of a false arrest while serving on a local 
commission of elders attempting to root out government corruption; and

Haji Nusrat, an eighty year old Afghan, arrested 
and transferred to Guantánamo after he protested his son's arrest.

Under two military commission bills currently 
being considered in the Senate, all of these men 
would no longer be able to contest their 
detentions in U.S. court. Both bills contain 
provisions that would retroactively strip U.S. 
courts of jurisdiction over the habeas petitions 
of the more than 450 men currently imprisoned at 
Guantánamo Bay. In addition, the courts would 
also be barred from hearing the habeas petitions 
of any future detainees. A simple determination 
that someone-even a U.S. citizen taken into 
custody abroad-is an 'enemy combatant' would be 
enough to detain them indefinitely.

The military commissions created by the 
legislation will try only those accused of 
violations of the laws of war; many of the men 
imprisoned at Guantánamo have been held for 
nearly five years without ever having been 
charged with a crime. These men depend on the 
right of habeas corpus to have their cases heard. 
By eliminating the power of the federal courts to 
hear pending habeas cases, the legislation would 
effectively render the McCain Amendment 
prohibiting cruel, inhumane or degrading 
treatment of detainees unenforceable and prevent 
any accountability for the torture or abuse of detainees.

CCR Staff Attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez said: 
"These bills would be a gross miscarriage of 
justice not only for these men but for the laws 
and values American is based upon. How can the 
President accuse one man of being a terrorist 
'mastermind' and give him a trial while 
simultaneously authorizing the United States to 
lock up a Sudanese relief worker or a foreigner 
swept up in the fog of war for the rest of his 
life without any trial is incomprehensible. All 
detainees in U.S. custody must be able to contest 
their detention in a U.S. court. Otherwise, these 
innocent men may be trapped in Guantánamo, never 
to be heard from again. We as a country cannot 
afford to have this on our conscience."

Complete Report:

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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