Monday, April 27, 2009

Court Of Appeals: Detainees Are Not “Persons” in Guantánamo Torture Suit

Court Agrees with Obama Administration that Detainees Still Have No Constitutional Right Not to Be Tortured

April 24, 2009 Washington, D.C. – In a suit brought by British men imprisoned for two years (without charge, without trial - Q.) at Guantanamo, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today reaffirmed its previous ruling that Guantanamo detainees lack the fundamental constitutional right not to be tortured and are not “persons” under a U.S. statute protecting religious freedom.


Last year, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a member of the Court of Appeals panel who issued the decision today, referred to the Court’s holding that detainees are not “persons” as “a most regrettable holding in a case where plaintiffs have alleged high-level U.S. government officials treated them as less than human.” This statement is noticeably absent from Judge Brown’s substantively identical concurring opinion issued today.


  1. Anonymous10:42 AM


  2. Anonymous10:43 AM

    Last week, President Obama released four torture authorization memos written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under the Bush administration that devised a legal framework for the justification of the Torture Program. The memos were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the Center for Constitutional Rights helped file with the ACLU and other organizations.

    We need your help to impeach one of the legal architects of the Bush administration Torture Program who is now, incredibly, a federal judge.

    The memos were intended to provide legal cover for officials to carry out abhorrent, illegal and ineffective techniques that were approved at the highest levels of the Bush administration in violation U.S. and international law and the U.S. Constitution.

    One of the principal authors was Jay Bybee, the former head of the OLC and today a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. His flagrant contempt for the rule of law is utterly inconsistent with his judicial position and speaks directly to his competency to function in that office. It is unacceptable for an individual who abused his status as a government lawyer and violated the law in conspiring with other members of the Bush Torture Team to sit as a federal judge, someone who hears and decides issues of constitutional import. At the time of his confirmation hearing, his role in the Torture Program was secret, as was the program itself. Jay Bybee’s actions constitute High Crimes and Misdemeanors by any standard.

    In a strong editorial yesterday, The New York Times called for Bybee’s impeachment. We agree. Write to Rep. John Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee today to demand they hold a hearing to determine whether grounds exist for Bybee’s impeachment. When you send your letter, your name will automatically be added to a petition that we will use to build a national movement to demand the prosecution of those high level officials who committed crimes when they planned, authorized, justified and carried out the Torture Program.

    Bybee’s impeachment will be a first step in holding the Torture Team accountable for their actions. His August 1, 2002 memo is available here.

    High level government officials are not above the law. We must send a clear message to all future officials – and to the victims of the torture policies – that the crime of torture is unacceptable and will not be swept under the carpet. If we allow these crimes to be committed with impunity, we are doomed to repeat one of the darkest chapters in our history. Join us to see Jay Bybee impeached and advance the movement for prosecutions and accountability.

  3. Anonymous10:45 AM,_there_will_be_no_accountability_for_bush%27s_crimes/