September 10, 2012, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement in response to the news that a ninth man has died in detention at Guantánamo.
With great sadness, the Center for Constitutional Rights condemns the fact that yet another detained man – the fourth on President Obama's watch – has died at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, most likely without charge and certainly without trial. Neither the name of the man nor the details of his death have yet been released by the Department of Defense. Whatever the cause turns out to be, it is clear that the United States government is ultimately responsible for his death.
Military investigations into several of the deaths at the base remain under a cloud of suspicion; and the Center's clients, families of two men who died there in 2006, never got their day in court or the chance to know the truth about what happened to their sons. The Center for Constitutional Rights calls on the government to preserve the evidence in this case, conduct a full and impartial investigation, and treat the body and the family with all proper respect, none of which, regrettably, has consistently occurred in the past.
More than half the men remaining at Guantánamo have been cleared for transfer but remain imprisoned, trapped by politics. Whether because of despair, suicide or natural causes, as Guantánamo enters its 11th year of operation – 11 years of indefinite detention without trial or prospect of release – death has become an inevitable consequence of President Obama's failure to close the prison.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for the last 10 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. In addition, CCR has been working through diplomatic channels to resettle men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.