On Wednesday, students from around the country began a coordinated two-day campaign of protests and legislative advocacy calling for the restoration of habeas corpus and fair hearings for the almost 400 detainees who still remain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 effectively stripped the Guantanamo detainees of their right to challenge their detention. In the next few weeks, Congress will consider several bills that would restore the right of habeas corpus to the Guantanamo detainees.
The actions, which began at noon Wednesday, were coordinated by a network of law students and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many of the Guantanamo detainees and coordinates major pro bono efforts on their cases. “It is a moral disgrace that we would deny the fundamental right to habeas corpus to anyone,” said CCR attorney Emi MacLean. “We need to bring habeas corpus back for the future of our country and for the people who have been detained without fair hearings and due process for over five years in Guantanamo.”
At HLS, students have organized a sit-in demonstration in Harvard Yard with students wearing orange jumpsuits, like the ones detainees wear in Guantanamo, and black hoods. The protest will be accompanied by a call-in and letter writing campaign. “We voice our rejection to an American law that allows for indefinite detention and torture,” said organizer Deborah Popowski, 2L. “We cannot stay silent. History will judge those responsible for enacting and perpetuating the Military Commissions Act, and if we refuse to act now, we, too, are complicit.”
More information on the campaign can be found at http://www.restorehabeascorpus.org.