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Held without charge or trial? Un-American.

Anthony D. Romero

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Feb. 25, 2016

This week President Obama sent Congress a new plan to close Guantánamo Bay prison. This is great news… mostly.

One of the worst practices at Guantánamo is the imprisonment of people without charge and with no end in sight. And President Obama’s plan will keep this practice of indefinite detention alive and well – and bring it home to U.S. soil.

Some detainees transferred to the U.S. would be held without charge or trial. This is fundamentally un-American.

The president actually has means to reduce the number of prisoners being held indefinitely. Years ago, President Obama set up a Periodic Review Board (PRB) to evaluate each detainee for clearance. But excruciating delays on PRB hearings and on the transfers of cleared prisoners have left dozens of detainees trapped indefinitely.

Tell President Obama to do his part to reduce indefinite detention by speeding up transfers and PRB hearings of prisoners who have been waiting for years.

Half of the remaining detainees are in limbo – never charged with a crime, but never cleared to be sent home. Dozens languish at Guantánamo Bay awaiting their first hearing. Others are cleared for overseas release but have been waiting seven or more years to be transferred out.

One man caught in this travesty is Mohamedou Slahi. He has been unlawfully detained for 14 years. An innocent man, Mohamedou is being held without charge – and has survived horrendous torture by our government.

There’s no doubt closing Guantánamo Bay prison matters deeply to the president. When he announced his closure plan, he emphasized the “detention facility at Guantánamo Bay does not advance our national security. It undermines it.” He added, “Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values.”

So why perpetuate this shameful prison with years-long delays in releasing prisoners?

We can’t afford to wait. Sign to demand President Obama accelerate transfers and PRB hearings.

President Obama’s closure plan comes seven years after he promised to shut down the prison when he stepped into office. And President Obama ordered PRB reviews to be completed by 2012 – four years ago. The years-long delays and President Obama’s continued embrace of indefinite detention will significantly tarnish his legacy.

Congress is chomping at the bit to oppose his plan, but President Obama can still go far to put the worst of Guantánamo in the past.

No more failed promises. Make sure President Obama follows through on his part to end Guantánamo with the means he has.

Words are not enough. It’s time to erase this stain on America’s moral standing at home and abroad.

Thanking you for taking action,

Anthony for the ACLU Action team