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President Obama Must Act on Promise To Veto National Defense Authorization Act

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U.S. Citizens’ Right to Trial at Stake

 press@ccrjustice.org

December 3, 2011, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement calling on President Obama to honor his promise to veto the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed on Thursday by the Senate:

The National Defense Authorization Act is a radical piece of legislation that makes indefinite military detention without charge or trial a permanent feature of the American legal system. These provisions, buried deep within the NDAA, are a result of the precedent set by President Obama’s failure to uphold U.S. and international human rights law by closing Guantánamo. Other sections of the NDAA strengthen restrictions on transferring and resettling detainees, 89 of whom have been unanimously cleared by the CIA, FBI, NSC and Defense Department for transfer or release, yet remain at Guantánamo. Failure to veto the NDAA would confirm that, rather than reversing the misguided and unconstitutional policies of the Bush administration, President Obama has intensified them. As Obama himself, along with President Bush and NDAA co-sponsor Senator John McCain, said during the presidential campaign, Guantánamo has become a symbol of human rights violations and denial of due process, and its existence makes us less safe.  By vetoing the NDAA, President Obama can finally make good on his many promises to begin to undo some of this damage.   
 
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last 10 years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with an individual transferred from CIA “ghost detention” to Guantanamo. CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.