Target: Barack Obama, President of the United States
Goal: Bring legitimate charges against Guantanamo Bay inmates and try them in court
Guantanamo Bay is a military prison for suspected “enemy combatants.” The prisoners are considered to be linked to terrorist organizations, however no official charges have ever been brought against any of them, and none of them have been tried in court. The term “enemy combatant” is supposed to designate the inmates as prisoners of war, despite the fact that neither of the military engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan are strictly considered wars in legal terms. Furthermore, there are international regulations on the treatment of prisoners of war, which are entirely disregarded at Guantanamo Bay. Inmates are subject to regular torture and interrogations, and some have died from the abuse. Regardless of what these inmates are believed to be guilty of, it is clearly a violation of U.S. and international law to hold prisoners without trial. We ask that President Obama require criminal charges and a trial for every Guantanamo inmate.
“Innocent until proven guilty” is one of the most important clauses in the American legal system. It prevents the government from imprisoning people without first charging them with a crime and then trying them in court. This is one of the fundamental protections the people have against the government, and to undermine it is to undermine the entire legal system. If the inmates of Guantanamo Bay are actually guilty, then it should be proven in court. If even one of these prisoners is innocent, then the entire operation is a crime against humanity. We can never know if these people are innocent or guilty without conducting a trial.
President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo Bay during his presidential campaign in 2008, for precisely the same reasons listed above. He failed to live up to that promise, and so we still have a torture prison under American authority. This is a crime in every sense, and it goes against everything the U.S. is supposed to stand for. If the President will not close Guantanamo Bay, then he can at least send these cases to trial to see if any of the inmates actually deserve to be imprisoned. We ask that President Obama bring official charges against the inmates of Guantanamo Bay and grant each inmate a day in court.
Dear President Obama,
The inmates at Guantanamo Bay are held without trial and without charges. On the basis of suspicion, they are imprisoned and tortured indefinitely, sometimes to the point of death. This is unacceptable behavior for a democratic nation, and a crime against humanity. If these inmates are guilty then it can be proven in court, and if not then obviously they shouldn’t be imprisoned. The continued operation of Guantanamo Bay goes against everything the United States stands for, it has done untold harm to our international standing, and it is an unconscionable crime for a nation that claims to protect human rights. You must make it right by bringing these cases to court.
The practices at Guantanamo Bay are a major violation of human rights. Simply the possibility that innocent people are held captive and tortured for no reason is enough to shut down the operation, and we will never know if any of them are guilty unless they are brought to trial. You have already gone back on your campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay, the least you can do is try to justify it by bringing charges against the inmates and trying them in court. If they are guilty then this will eliminate doubt, and if not then it will free innocent people. We ask that you do the right thing, and give these prisoners a proper legal procedure.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: USMARINE0311 via Flickr