January 12, 2009
Advisers say Obama Preparing to Close Gitmo
Today, the AP reported that according to advisers, President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office, perhaps his first day, to close Guantanamo.
“It is encouraging to hear reports that President-elect Obama is considering issuing an executive order on closing Guantanamo in the first hours of his presidency, and that he understands any strategy for closing the facility must be in line with America’s values. Showing the world we are serious about our values will require embracing time-tested procedures for criminal prosecution of suspected terrorists in our federal courts,” said Deborah Colson, Interim Director, Law & Security Program, Human Rights First.Issuing such an executive order would be an impressive first step. In an interview last weekend, Obama said it would be "a challenge" to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration. But HRF has a plan for closing Guantanamo within a year. Click here to read our blueprint for closing Guantanamo, which offers a detailed plan of the next steps to close the prison, minimize the risk to America’s national security and ensure that detainees suspected of committing crimes against the United States are prosecuted in fair proceedings.
“As President-elect Obama said on Sunday, closing Guantanamo will take time and analysis. But the overall challenge will be complicated if Mr. Obama does not make an immediate decision to suspend all military commission proceedings, including the trial of Omar Khadr, which is scheduled to begin on January 26th” she added.