Eleven Guantanamo detainees filed a petition in a federal court in Washington that claims their continued imprisonment is due to President Donald Trump’s alleged dislike of Muslims.
The inmates point to Trump’s campaign vow to load up Guantanamo with “some bad dudes.” Trump also tweeted that he would block future releases from the military prison because all 41 inmates were “extremely dangerous people.”
What is the petition based on?
The petition, filed Thursday, states that indefinite imprisonment without trial is illegal under the due process provided by the U.S. Constitution. It also maintains that the use of indefinite detention under the Authorization for Use of Military Force was not intended to prevent enemies of the U.S. from returning to the battlefield.
Petitioners also point to medical experts that compare prolonged, indefinite imprisonment to “sensory deprivation and psychological torture.” It also describes an “intentional system of cruel treatment and torture, as the International Committee of the Red Cross once described it – that Petitioners suffered for years at Guantanamo.”
It goes on to say: “Many are suffering the devastating psychological and physiological consequences of indefinite detention in a remote prison camp where they have endured conditions devised to break human beings, and where the aura of forever hangs heavier than ever.”
Pardiss Kebriaei, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents one of the petitioners, said plans to release prisioners have stalled during Trump’s presidency.
“There’s nothing happening. It’s an entirely static situation, and that kind of indefinite detention without charge is intolerable, it cannot be allowed to continue,” Kebriaei told The Guardian.
How different is Trump’s stance on Guantanamo?
The inmates allege that Trump’s presidency has led to “open hostility to transferring any detainees,” from the prison, located on a U.S. Naval base on the coast of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. And they say it’s a sharp contrast to his predecessors.
Though George W. Bush set up the “extrajudicial nature of the military detention system,” he also released 539 of the 780 prisoners in the system, The Guardian reported.
Obama transferred 201 prisoners out of the base, The Guardian reported. He tried to shut down the camp, but was hindered in part by “Republican opposition in Congress to transferring inmates to the U.S.,” according to The Guardian.
“The endurance of Guantanamo outside the norms of the US criminal justice system and international law has been condemned repeatedly by world bodies including the UN and human rights groups,” The Guardian wrote.
Nine inmates have died over the past 16 years, and some of them committed suicide, according to reports.
There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017