Supreme Court Upholds Rights Of Detainees
Witness Against Torture For Immediate Release June 13, 2008
Supreme Court Upholds The Rights Of Guantanamo Detainees
A Victory For Justice – A Call To Further Action
Contact: Matthew W. Daloisio, 201-264-2244
With yesterday's Supreme Court's decision, there is now an unequivocal mandate from the highest judicial body in the United Sates to close the detention center at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and bring cases of the detainees into the Federal Justice system.
In a mockery of justice, the Bush administration and Republican Congress denied habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees and sought to prosecute them through a fraudulent military trial process that fell well below accepted standards of due process. With its ruling, the Supreme Court definitively rejected that scheme as unconstitutional and un-American.
Witness Against Torture—a grassroots movement to shut down Guantanamo— views the decision as a victory for justice and as a critical step in the process of rolling back Bush's "war on terror" and restoring American law, honor, and respect for human rights. It is a powerful vindication of the efforts of countless individuals and groups, in this country and abroad, to close Guantanamo and secure due process for those held captive there.
Witness Against Torture has worked since 2005 to draw attention to the injustice of Guantanamo and—through creative direct action—to chart a course through the justice system for the detainees to follow. On October 17, 2006, when the Military Commissions Act was signed into law, Witness Against Torture members were arrested at the White House. On January 11, 2007—the five-year mark of the detention camp's opening—Witness took the names of the detainees into DC Federal District Court, resulting in 80 arrests. Witness members vigiled outside the Supreme Court on December 5, 2007, when oral arguments were made in the case decided yesterday.
And on January 11, 2008, Witness was back at the Supreme Court, serving writs of habeas corpus on behalf of the detainees. The protest resulted in a trial of 35 Witness members in DC Superior Court in late May, during which the defendants put Guantanamo itself on trial.
Yesterday's historic victory must be followed by concrete steps to at last close Guantanamo and provide a fair and expeditious resolution to the fate of the detainees. Witness Against Torture is alarmed by the rhetoric of the Bush administration and its supporters pledging to undo the Supreme Court's ruling with new legislation. We will work to oppose any effort, from Congress or the next President, to breathe life into Bush's illegal and disgraced detainee policy.
Witness is outraged by Justice Antonin Scalia's preposterous claim in his dissenting opinion that the decision of his colleagues "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." This kind of fear-mongering rhetoric—which has no place in a legal opinion and fundamentally misrepresents the detainees' situation—is bound to surface during the election season, and must be vigilantly combated.
Our work, in short, continues. Throughout the summer and fall, we will continue to denounce Guantanamo and apply pressure to the President, the presidential candidates, and Congress to close it. On January 11, 2009, we will again mobilize against Guantanamo, launching a "100 Days" campaign to shut the detention facility down early in the next President's term. With this campaign, we will hold both contenders for the Oval Office to their pledge to close Guantanamo.
To learn more about Witness Against Torture, visit www.witnesstorture.org
To access pictures from our protests at the Supreme Court, which may be reproduced in media pieces, go to:
January 11, 2008 http://www.witnesstorture.org/node/876
December 5, 2007 – Day of Oral Arguments http://www.witnesstorture.org/node/940