With their clients still in captivity at Guantanamo months after a judge declared they were not enemy combatants, a group of detainee lawyers made a direct appeal to President Barack Obama today asking for the men’s release.
Susan Manning of Bingham McCutchen, Stephen Olesky of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, and Cori Crider of Reprieve submitted a letter this afternoon claiming that their clients are still subjected to regular degradation and abuse by the staff at Gitmo.
Lakhdar Boumediene, the lead plaintiff in Boumediene v. Bush, has suffered through painful force feedings while on a hunger strike, it says, and “for ten days this month he was taken to an isolated cell and forced to sleep and pray on a mat reeking from excrement.”
Mohammed el Gharani, who was 14 when he was captured and handed over to the U.S., “still bears wounds from ongoing mistreatment,” it says. It adds that Gharani is still imprisoned even though Chad’s government asked for his return in January.
The letter also makes a plea on behalf of the 17 Chinese Uighurs, who have presented a particularly thorny problem for the U.S. Though the government acknowledges they are not enemy combatants, no country has been willing to accept them, largely due to pressure from the Chinese. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court reversed a lower court decision that ordered the men released into the U.S.
“Mr. President, our clients recognize the challenges you face. But we respectfully submit that finding a home now for 20 innocents is a drop in the ocean,” the letter says.
Read the whole letter here.