Young lawyers call for Obama to close Guantanamo

Download document:

LetterToObama - .PDF file.

The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) is calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay after the force-feeding of Muslim prisoners during Ramadan.

The association’s president Thierry Aballéa, has penned a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, due to arrive at The White House tomorrow, in which he says that recent developments at Guantanamo have “appalled and horrified” AIJA.

He goes on to say: “The decision to force feed prisoners has stricken us to the heart. AIJA has few resources, no networks, no budgets, no constraints… yet youth has the gift of always believing in a better future. Therefore we have a great deal of hope in writing to you.

“Hope that is long gone for your inmates who are force fed every day, their arms tied during the feeding and digestion process, locked away without proper trial for 12 years in some cases, which is a unique and historic situation for a democracy.”

The US has come under increasing pressure over the last two weeks to halt the force-feeding of prisoners. Last Monday, US district judge Gladys Kessler stated that she would be otuside the bounds of her jurisdiction if she stopped the force-feeding of hunger strikers and said that only Obama had that power.

On Tuesday, a federal judge turned down a bid by three Guantanamo Bay detainees. Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that she did not thave the right to intervene because of Congress’s removal of Guantanamo detainees’ treatment and conditions of confinement from the purview of federal courts.

Aballéa concluded his letter by saying: “With malice towards none, we ask you to devote your energy to getting rid of this blot on American democracy that Guantanamo represents, that time may help to erase quicker on condition that you act immediately.”