The administration argued it can indefinitely detain prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
A judge is considering a habeas corpus petition that was brought by 11 Guantanamo prisoners who claim that their indefinite detention is both arbitrary and illegal.
The Justice Department lawyer argued Wednesday that the administration could also hold people indefinitely even without charging them with a crime.
Their lawyers argue that their clients are in “perpetual detention for detention’s sake.”
“Indefinite, potentially permanent detention without charge is not permitted under the US Constitution, and under international law. Our point today is that – even assuming that there was a lawful basis for their initial detention for some period of time – is their indefinite detention today defensible?” — Pardiss Kebriaei, attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights
One of the prisoners, Towfiq Bihani, is a Yemeni citizen thought to have connections to al-Qaeda and has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2003 despite the fact that in all that time he has never been formally charged with a crime.
Bihani was cleared for release by no less than six different U.S. intelligence and defense agencies back in 2010, and yet he remains in prison.
Guantanamo Bay has long been a controversial fixture of the U.S. war on terror and has been the subject of intense contention between the country’s political parties.
It has been condemned by multiple international governments and human rights groups on the grounds of indefinite detention and torture of prisoners.
Despite former President Barack Obama’s order to close the facility in 2009, our current president reversed the decision last year.
As of May this year, there are still 40 people imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.