CVT Opposes Legislation Barring Transfers out of the Guantanamo Detention Facility | The Center for Victims of Torture

CVT Opposes Legislation Barring Transfers out of the Guantanamo Detention Facility

Thursday, February 12, 2015

CVT is among a coalition of civil liberties, human rights, national security, and religious organizations that recently signed a letter to members of the U.S. Senate opposing S. 165. This legislation, introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte and others, would impose a two-year moratorium on all detainee transfers out of the Guantanamo detention facility.

Specifically, the bill would impose effective two-year ban on all detainee transfers, anywhere—even when U.S. military and intelligence agencies agree that a detainee is cleared for transfer—barring a court order.  It would also replace bipartisan foreign transfer provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act with restrictive certification requirements that would needlessly bind the hands of US national security officials.

As the coalition writes, “Taken together, these measures would effectively sustain detention operations at Guantanamo Bay for the foreseeable future, furthering inhumanely the continued detention of men cleared for transfer, squandering scarce resources, and—according to national security officials—making us less safe.”

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “Guantanamo Detention Facility and Future of U.S. Detention Policy,” Brian P. McKeon, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, stated, “Because this legislation, if enacted, would effectively block progress toward the goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the Administration opposes it.”

CVT has long opposed indefinite detention at Guantanamo and has been part of efforts calling for the detention center to be closed. CVT Executive Director Executive Curt Goering has said, “CVT opposes the continued indefinite detention of prisoners without charge or trial. Indefinite detention rises to the level of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in violation of U.S. and international law and results in serious and long-term physical and mental health problems for those imprisoned. Indefinite detention should never be authorized by the U.S. government, but, sadly, became entrenched at Guantanamo.”

CVT also submitted testimony to Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights for its 2013 hearing on "Closing Guantanamo: The National Security, Fiscal, and Human Rights Implications."

From CVT's testimony:

The recent hunger strike among the detainees at Guantanamo underscores the despair among detainees facing indefinite detention. Hunger strikes are a form of expression by individuals who have no other way of making their demands known. CVT takes the position that forced feeding of mentally competent hunger strikers is a breach of various bans on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

To learn more about CVT's policy work, please visit our Advocacy page here.




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