Release Ordered for Five Guantanamo Detainees
A federal judge yesterday ordered that five men who have been held for years without being charged with any crime at the prison at Guantanamo Bay be released “forthwith”, saying that “Seven years of waiting for a legal system to give them an answer . . . in my judgment is more than enough.”
As has happened in past cases of Bush/Cheney administration detentions without charges, accusations originally used as justification for the men’s imprisonment were later withdrawn. It is assumed that the evidence for the accusations was either unreliable or inadmissible in a court of law – most likely both, in light of the government’s use of counterfactual arguments and illegal and unreliable interrogation methods.
The Algerians were detained for years on allegations that they had been plotting to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo when they were picked up by Bosnian authorities and later turned over to U.S. officials. Bush mentioned the bomb plot in his 2002 State of the Union Address. But the government withdrew those allegations last month without explanation.
Glenn Greenwald sums up the treatment these men have received.
We haven’t just imprisoned people with no evidence in cages for years. We’ve kept them encaged under often brutal and extreme conditions, many in unbroken solitary confinement for years. Today, a federal court ruled that for 5 of these men, there is no credible evidence that they did anything wrong, and if most of our political class — which supported the Military Commissions Act– had its way, they wouldn’t have even had this hearing at all.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet done so to sign the People for the American Way petition to President-Elect Obama to urge him to put an end to extra-constitutional incarcerations, and to visit his transition web site (UPDATE: contact the president at the White House web site) to ask him to uphold human rights.