Remes, who represents 15 Yemeni detainees, announced his resignation on July 18, saying that he plans to devote himself exclusively to human rights litigation. “My departure is the inevitable outcome of my human rights work at the firm in the past four years, which became a consuming passion,” Remes said in a statement.
Remes’ resignation comes less than a week after the lawyer made headlines for removing his pants during a news conference in Yemen while demonstrating how detainees are body-searched at the naval base. Remes, who declined to comment beyond his statement, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog last week, “The reaction to what I did makes me very sad. I wish people paid as much attention to the suffering and torment in Guantánamo as they paid to the way I sought to dramatize it.”
Remes said in his statement that he had informed the firm in May of his intention to leave. The firm declined to comment on Remes’ departure. “David’s statement speaks for itself,” says Mitchell Dolin, a Covington partner.
In nearly 25 years at the firm Remes, at various turns, represented Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, IBM, Xerox, and the National Football League. More recently, Remes has been in the vanguard of lawyers handling detainee litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which is grappling with more than 200 habeas cases in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision granting detainees the right to challenge their captivity in federal court.