In January 2002, the first prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay Detention Center. Since then, there has been a systematic effort to deprive these detainees of even the most basic legal rights, and strand them in permanent legal no-man’s land.
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on December 31, 2011. The NDAA contains provisions that could allow indefinite and arbitrary military detention, without a trial or day in court, of anyone accused of any “belligerent act” or terror-related offense—including “material support” allegations based strictly on speech or association. It essentially subjects everyone within the US (including citizens, legal residents, and visitors) to the same lawless standards at work in Guantánamo Bay.
The NDAA subjects these individuals to arbitrary detention without trial, denying the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and Sixth Amendment rights to challenge evidence and confront one’s accusers. The NDAA also endangers First and Fourth Amendment rights, because the PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of “material support for terrorism” to include crimes of speech and association even by defendants who neither committed nor ever intended to support violence.
One of the most effective ways to keep public attention on due process is to organize support for local statements or resolutions opposing military detention and supporting the right to trial.
BORDC has drafted a resolution that gives any city or town the opportunity to raise its voice in defense of due process and the right to trial.
Fifteen human rights organizations today wrote to the House of Representatives to urge a No vote on HR 5351, which would impose a full ban on all transfers of detainees out of Guantanamo prison camp.
The House of Representatives will vote this week on a bill that will prevent President Obama from transferring any more men (even those cleared of any crime) out of Guantanamo Bay military prison.
Have you ever wondered how the Cuban people feel about the presence of the Guantanamo Bay Prison on their island?