Amnesty International Condemns Guantanamo Transfer Restrictions in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act

Press Release
January 3, 2013

Amnesty International Condemns Guantanamo Transfer Restrictions in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act

Bill Further Entrenches Indefinite Detention and Unfair Trials at Guantanamo

Contact: Carol Gregory, cgregory@aiusa.org, 202-675-8759

(Washington, D.C.) — Amnesty International USA condemned the restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law yesterday by President Obama.

The law continues for one more year a ban on appropriated funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the mainland United States, even for trial. It also continues onerous conditions on the transfer of detainees to other countries.

"This law makes it harder for the President to fulfill his promise to close the Guantanamo detention facility, perpetuating a grave injustice against the detainees held without charge or fair trial," said Frank Jannuzi, Deputy Executive Director of AIUSA. “Solutions for ending human rights violations, not excuses, must be found.”

Section 1027 of the 2013 NDAA bans the use of appropriated funds for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the mainland U.S., even for trial.

Section 1028 of the new law continues onerous conditions on, but does not preclude, the transfer of detainees to other countries. President Obama has the ability under Section 1028 to resolve a number of cases. One example is Shaker Aamer, a former UK resident who has been held at Guantanamo for ten years without charge.

"The UK government has asked for Aamer's return, and he should either be charged and tried or promptly released to the UK," Jannuzi continued. “Resolving the case of Shaker Aamer, not tomorrow, but today, would be a small but symbolic step demonstrating that the President has not abandoned his promise to close Guantanamo.”

On a positive note, the 2013 NDAA includes the Afghan Women and Girl’s Security Promotion Act. The amendment was introduced by Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) based on recommendations from Amnesty International USA and Afghan women’s organizations.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.