Trump’s Guantánamo Executive Order Undermines American Values

January 31, 2018

In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, President Trump announced he had signed a new Executive Order to overturn the US Government’s commitment to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center which has been in place since January 2009.

There are currently 41 men who remain detained in Guantánamo. Reprieve assists 8 of them—none of whom have been charged with a crime or offered a fair trial. The new Executive Order is expected to leave the remaining men in limbo indefinitely, with no access to any means of proving their innocence or returning to their families.

Responding, Reprieve Deputy Director, Katie Taylor said:

“President Trump talks loudly about making America great, but with the stroke of a pen he has fundamentally undermined the American value of justice enshrined in the first line of the Constitution. Even Guantánamo’s creator, George W. Bush eventually recognized it was counter-productive and nothing more than a “propaganda tool” for enemies of the US. Members of Congress and political leaders should oppose this Order and work together to insist those currently detained indefinitely are charged or released.

“A country does not become great by shutting its ears to the views of its close allies. Leaders in Europe and elsewhere have vocally opposed Guantánamo over many years and President Trump should be listening to their principled and strategic concerns. If he hasn’t heard them yet, then American’s partners need to repeat their opposition to this island torture chamber, and loudly, until he understands how damaging this move will be.”

 

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s can be contacted on: adam.smith@reprieve.org.uk, or +44 (0)7768 558435.

2. The remaining men include Towfiq al Bihani who has now been prepared for release twice by Guantánamo authorities and even measured for new release clothing, but each time he was returned to his cell; Saifullah Paracha, who turned 70 last year in Guantánamo and has had two heart attacks since he was rendered there over 12 years ago; and Abdullatif Nasser, a Moroccan national who was cleared for release by the authorities in July 2016, but remains in the prison because of an eight-day delay in paperwork before President Trump took office.