The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on US President Barack Obama early on the morning after his re-election Nov. 7 to shut down the Guantánamo Bay military prison, even as it congratulated him on his victory. Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, urged Obama to “make good the promise he made four years ago to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay.” He also encouraged Obama to put an end to practices such as warrantless surveillance, drone strikes and indefinite detention:
We congratulate President Obama on his re-election. This is his opportunity to reaffirm our constitutional principles and the fundamental American values of due process, respect for the rule of law and individual freedom. It is a time to once again be a nation where we can be both safe and free.
During his 2008 campaign, Obama stated that closing the Guantánamo Bay military prison would be a priority for his first term. Shortly after he assumed office, Obama issued an executive order for the closure of the site within one year. According to Jurist Forum contributor David Frakt, the Obama administration is not solely to blame for Guantánamo Bay remaining open. The US Congress has, since 2009, “passed a series of increasingly stringent spending restrictions which have made it virtually impossible to transfer most detainees out of Guantánamo.” Other scholars, including Forum contributor Jonathan Hafetz, have raised concerns about how the failure to close Guantánamo Bay “has helped justify the policies of arbitrary detention and torture that spurred its creation in the first place.”
From Jurist, Nov. 7. Used with permission.