As Gitmo turns 21, inaction by Biden and U.S. courts leads to incoherent policy for imprisoned men.

by Center for Constitutional Rights

Today, on the 21st anniversary of the opening of the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

President Biden has pledged to battle authoritarianism both in the United States and abroad, yet he has done little to close that authoritarian abomination, the prison at Guantánamo Bay, where the U.S. government has imprisoned, tortured, and otherwise brutalized hundreds of Muslim men and boys, and continues to hold a group of men indefinitely. Despite the president’s promise to close Guantánamo, his administration has transferred only five people in two years, has failed to negotiate any third-country resettlements for men from countries to which Congress has banned repatriation, such as Yemen, and continues to oppose any effort by men at Guantánamo to secure relief through the courts – even in cases where they are already cleared for release. In other words, the administration is fighting to detain men it no longer wants to detain, in a prison it wants to close. The president’s policy is one of injustice, immorality, and total incoherence.

Witness Against Torture activists demonstrating at the White House calling for the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp on the 17th anniversary of its opening.

Meanwhile, the courts continue to fail in upholding their role as a meaningful check on executive detention, including by leaving pending challenges unresolved. For example, Abdulsalam Al Hela, a Yemeni man cleared for release, is still awaiting a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit more than a year after oral arguments in his case.

Thirty-five men remain in the prison today, the majority of whom – 23 – have never been charged. Twenty-one of these men are cleared for release.

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