Close (don’t move) Guantanamo!

We hear a beautiful sound

WaPo published an article yesterday announcing a new milestone at Guantanamo:  The population of the prison will soon fall below 100 for the first time since its first month of existence 14 years ago. Ten Yemenis will soon be released, bringing to 14 the total released so far this year.  We can celebrate the new pace of release for dozens of prisoners who have languished in prison despite being cleared for release many years ago.  Yet our joy is brought up short as we read further in the article to find the following reminder:

As the pace of transfers accelerates, officials are also racing to finalize a plan they must submit to Congress outlining steps the White House hopes to take to end detention operations at Guantanamo, including bringing some prisoners to the United States for trial or indefinite detention without charge.

Note that Obama’s plan to “close” Guantanamo includes moving prisoners to the United States to continue their detention without charge or trial.  Who knew that closing Guantanamo was more about zip code than justice?

A tweet by the Center for Constitutional Rights aptly called out this moral outrage:

To bring Guantanamo’s prisoners to our shores to be held indefinitely, perhaps for a lifetime, in some US supermax is, simply put, to bring Guantanamo home.  Our government proposes to embrace a practice that violates international and human rights law and compromises our moral standing in the world.

To shut down Guantanamo must mean shutting down indefinite detention.  If insufficient evidence exists to place a prisoner on trial, then release him.  If the only evidence that can be found was produced by torturing a prisoner, then set him free. Protect the rule of law in the service of justice.

“Let them go home!” is the message the Witness Against Torture community brought to the White House at Monday’s rally marking 14 years of the prison at Guantanamo. They  held a ritual in which each detainee’s name and photo was brought into a space symbolizing home.  As they concluded, they faced the White House and sang their message to the President:

We hear a beautiful sound.

It is the breaking of chains.

We see a path full of hope.

We have found the way.

Let them go home.

Let them go home.

Let them go home.

Let them go today!

 

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