Trump’s Response to Guantánamo Challenge Exposes Legal and Logical Vacuum

February 17, 2018

The Trump administration filed a response, Friday, to a major legal challenge brought on behalf of 11 men detained indefinitely in Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial. Reprieve assists four of the men involved in the legal action.

The administration’s response asserts that detention at Guantánamo is not arbitrary because the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process gives detainees the chance to be cleared for release. This is despite the fact no detainees have been cleared since President Trump took office in January 2017. At the same time, the response argues that the Government can continue to detain those men previously cleared by six federal agencies through an administrative process.

The administration’s lawyers go on to claim that detention at Guantánamo is not ‘indefinite’ but ‘indeterminate’.

Responding, Katie Taylor, Deputy Director of Reprieve, said: 

“The Trump administration’s position is typical of the logical and legal vacuum of Guantánamo. On one hand Trump’s lawyers argue the Periodic Review Board is an adequate protection from arbitrary detention, though not a single person has been cleared by the PRB since he took office. On the other hand, they argue the five men, including Abdul Latif Nasser and Towfiq Bihani, previously cleared for release by six federal agencies can continue to be detained forever. And in the latest example of Guantánamo nonsense, we are now told that detention at Guantánamo is not indefinite, but rather ‘indeterminate’, as if that somehow makes all the difference to the 31 men who remain locked up without charge or trial.”

 

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve’s press office can be contacted on: adam.smith@reprieve.org.uk or +44 (0)7768 558435.

2. The Government’s response to the mass challenge can be read here.