Prof. Eric Freedman Finds Detaining of 149 Guantánamo Bay Prisoners Inconsistent With the Rule of Law

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Eric M. Freedman, the Siggi B. Wilzig Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Rights, and attorney Brian E. Foster, who represent many detainees at Guantánamo Bay, responded in a letter to the editor of The New York Times to the op-ed “A View From Gitmo,” by Ramzi Kassem.

In his piece, Kassem (an associate professor of law at the City University of New York who directs the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, which represents prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere) analyzes the national debate around the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Afghans imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.

He writes, “To [the Guantánamo inmates’] mind, before debating the finer point of whether the transfer of the five Afghans adhered to the law, the American public should ask if the detention and abuse at Guantánamo Bay of hundreds — without charge, fair process or the protections of the Geneva Conventions — were lawful in the first place.”

In their letter, Professor Freedman and Foster take up the question “How many of the 149 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay are incarcerated lawlessly?” and “tally” the different reasons for the incarcerations.

Their conclusion: “There is no reckoning by which this tally is consistent with the rule of law.”

The letter appears in the print edition on June 12, 2014, with the headline “Prisoners at Guantánamo: A Tally of 149 Cases.”

Read the full letter.