Unlawful Detentions

Supreme Court to hear ACLU case against indefinite detention

Yesterday, five high-profile detainees attempted to submit guilty pleas before the government's ill-conceived military commissions. But, by the end of the day, their pleas were tied up in a blizzard of confusion over unresolved legal questions.

It's not clear what will happen next if these unjust proceedings are allowed to continue. But, what is abundantly clear is that, no matter how hard the government tries to advance the military commissions, this process doesn't work.

History will show that any guilty pleas in these proceedings were the result of an inhumane, unjust process designed to achieve a foregone conclusion. The only solution is to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and shut down these unjust military commissions.

As you know, the ACLU is calling on President-elect Obama to close Guantanamo, ban torture, and shut down indefensible military commissions on his first day in office. This trip to Guantanamo has convinced me that it is more essential than ever to keep the pressure on -- because what's happening down here flies in the face of justice, fairness and our American ideals.

The ACLU is working on all fronts to dismantle this system of injustice that the Bush administration has created. We're sponsoring expert civilian counsel to those held at Guantanamo, mobilizing our nationwide network of grassroots activists, filing lawsuits and exposing the truth.

Just last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a vitally important ACLU case taking on the Bush administration's sweeping claim that it can indefinitely imprison a legal resident of the United States without charging him with a crime or trying him before a jury.

Our case was filed on behalf of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who has been detained in solitary confinement at a Navy brig in South Carolina since June 2003.

Al-Marri asked the Court to reverse a federal appeals court decision that gave the president sweeping power to deprive individuals in the United States of their most basic constitutional rights simply by designating them "enemy combatants."

We will urge the Court to ensure that people in this country cannot be seized from their homes and imprisoned indefinitely simply because the president says so.

From this important Supreme Court challenge to indefinite detention to our grassroots efforts to demand the closure of Guantanamo and the end of Bush's military commissions, your support and your voice are essential to our success. Help us keep the pressure on and add tens of thousands of names to our Open Letter to Barack Obama.

Finally, I want to tell you about another critical victory in the ACLU's effort to restore justice and the rule of law in America.

In a crucial ACLU case, a federal appeals court acted last week to rebuff the Bush administration's efforts to deport Egyptian torture victim Sameh Khouzam. The case hinged on his right to challenge Egypt's "diplomatic assurances" that it will not torture Khouzam upon his return.

This is an enormous victory for due process and the rights of all people -- citizens or not -- to be free from torture. And it's a stinging rejection of the government's attempts to simply eliminate the role of the courts in reviewing the government's actions.

You're helping us win critical victories. President-elect Obama has committed to close Guantanamo. Help us keep the pressure on until we fully renew America's commitment to freedom.


Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

In the courts and in the court of public opinion, the evidence against our government's injustice continues to mount. Take a moment right now to see our new closegitmo.com video in which top military lawyers challenge the unjust military commissions underway here at Guantanamo Bay.