End Unlawful and Abusive Detention

President Obama came into office pledging to close Guantanamo and return to the rule of law, but he has since embraced the concept of indefinite detention for security detainees captured in the so-called "War on Terror."

Indefinite detention is prohibited under international law. Amnesty International's position is that any individual detained in the context of U.S. counterterrorism operations should either be charged with an offense and referred in a timely fashion to a properly constituted court for trial, or if there is insufficient evidence to do so, released.

End Unlawful and Abusive Detention

President Obama came into office pledging to close Guantanamo and return to the rule of law, but he has since embraced the concept of indefinite detention for security detainees captured in the so-called "War on Terror."

Indefinite detention is prohibited under international law. Amnesty International's position is that any individual detained in the context of U.S. counterterrorism operations should either be charged with an offense and referred in a timely fashion to a properly constituted court for trial, or if there is insufficient evidence to do so, released.

In a national security speech at the National Archives in May 2009, President Obama stated publicly for the first time that his administration was prepared to hold some of the GITMO detainees indefinitely without trial and that it would explore and perhaps even create legal mechanisms to allow this to occur.

In July 2009 the General Counsel to the Department of Defense Jeh Johnson told Congress that the Obama administration would consider continuing to detain individuals indefinitely even if they were acquitted of any crimes by the Military Commissions.

In January 2010, on the 1st anniversary of President Obama's Executive Order closing Guantanamo, a Department of Justice taskforce reported that it was recommending the indefinite detention without charge of 47 Guantanamo detainees.

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Illegal and Indefinite Detention Issues