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Gitmo Defense Lawyers Say Moving Prisoners to United States Isn’t Good Enough

Today’s news that Obama administration officials are touring a Michigan prison as a possible alternative location for detainees now imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay

Jul 31, 2020
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Today’s news that Obama administration officials are touring a Michigan prisonas a possible alternative location for detainees now imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay could make life easier for some of their defense lawyers. But some say it raises as many concerns as it resolves.
“I think it’s encouraging that they’re moving ahead despite the opposition,” said David Remes, Executive Director of Appeal for Justice, who represents more than a dozen detainees from Yemen imprisoned at Guantanamo. Opponents “have unfortunately resurrected the idea that the guys down there are ‘the worst of the worst,’ and so dangerous that one has to consider whether even maximum-security facilities are able to hold them.”
Moving the prisoners will at least make visiting them easier. “We won’t have to take a commercial flight to Fort Lauderdale and then a puddle-jumper to Guantanamo, or submit to the restrictions of a military base,” he said. Federal officials can still place strict limitations on lawyers representing terror suspects in the United States, though, including preventing them from talking to the media about the evidence in their cases.
“On the other hand, what appears to be happening is that Obama’s efforts to release the men who ought to be released is being stymied by political opposition,” Remes said. “And it will be deeply unfortunate if he ends up moving Gitmo from Cuba to Michigan.” Many of the men should be released, Remes insisted. “And by eliminating the symbol of Guantanamo, there’s a danger that the focus on the plight of these men will disappear.”
Candace Gorman, a Chicago-based lawyer who represents two prisoners at Guantanamo, shares that concern.
“We have not asked for Guantanamo to be closed so that the men could be moved to different prisons,” she said. “Some of these men, including my two clients, have been held for more than seven years without charges. It is time to either charge the men or release them … moving them to a different location does not solve the problem.”
Hajra Shannon

Hajra Shannon

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Hajra Shannona is a highly experienced journalist with over 9 years of expertise in news writing, investigative reporting, and political analysis. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and has contributed to reputable publications focusing on global affairs, human rights, and environmental sustainability. Hajra's authoritative voice and trustworthy reporting reflect her commitment to delivering insightful news content. Beyond journalism, she enjoys exploring new cultures through travel and pursuing outdoor photography
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