For Immediate Release
February 23, 2005
KUWAITI FAMILIES SHOCKED BY STEALTH PROPOSAL
FOR ‘PERMANENT PRISON’ AT GUANTANAMO
Relatives of Detainees Question Sincerity of the Bush Administration’s Commitment to U.S. Law
Kuwait City, February 23, 2005 – The Bush administration’s decision to seek $41.8 million for a special new long-term prison for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has shocked the families of the detainees and their supporters. Observers now question the U.S. government’s intention to ever comply with the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The funding request is buried in an $81.9 billion anti-terrorism package viewed on the Hill as critical. The permanent prison may therefore be approved without the debate that such a drastic measure should require in a democratic society.
The proposal for a permanent prison causes new agony for the families of the Guantánamo detainees, who must now wonder if they will ever see their loved ones again. Their family members have been detained for over three years with neither due process under U.S. law nor the benefits of the Geneva Conventions.
“We regard this proposal for a permanent prison as a harsh rejection of our respectful efforts to persuade the Administration to comply with American law,” said Khalid Al-Odah, head of the Kuwaiti Family Committee and father of detainee Fawzi Al-Odah. “It tells us that the Administration has simply not been listening to the courts, to humanitarian agencies around the world, or to an overwhelming number of distinguished media representatives on both sides of the political spectrum.”
In June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must either try the detainees or release them. The Administration has so far not complied with or even acknowledged the High Court’s ruling. This latest initiative strongly suggests that it has no real intention of doing so.
Additionally troubling is that the proposal will not likely be debated to any appreciable extent as the funding request for a “permanent detention facility and security fence” is contained in the $81.9 billion Special War on Terror budget that will likely be fast-tracked through Congress.
“I believe that if the American people were fully aware of what the Administration is doing and how they are doing it, they would share our outrage,” said Al-Odah. “We are simply asking for fair trials for our loved ones under U.S. law,” added Al-Odah.
This press release is distributed by Levick Strategic Communications on behalf of the International Counsel Bureau. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
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