The international organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on Wednesday to condemn US President Barack Obama’s evident decision to sign the bill that would systemise an indefinite detention without trial into the US law.
“By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
The report outlines the far-reaching consequences of the bill which would include Guantanamo detainees being banned from entering the US even for trials. The detainees would also be banned from transferring to home or third world countries, even those cleared by the administration for release.
“It is a sad moment when a president who has prided himself on his knowledge of and belief in constitutional principles succumbs to the politics of the moment to sign a bill that poses so great a threat to basic constitutional rights,” Roth added.
The report stated that this would be the first time since 1950 that detainees would get indefinite detention without trial. During the McCarthy era, Congress overrode the veto of then-President Harry Truman and passed the Internal Security Act.
“President Obama cannot even justify this serious threat to basic rights on the basis of security,” Roth said. “The law replaces an effective system of civilian-court prosecutions with a system that has generated the kind of global outrage that would delight recruiters of terrorists.”
According to the report, there are currently 171 detainees at Guantanamo, many of them imprisoned for nearly 10 years.