JUNE 12TH, 2008 | Harkin for Senate
Senator Tom Harkin released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled today that detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have rights under the U.S. Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts. Harkin introduced legislation in this Congress to close the detention center.
“I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision which simply reaffirms one of our Constitution’s most basic principles – a person cannot be thrown in prison indefinitely without access to an independent court. Habeas corpus is a bedrock principle of American law, and the Court rightfully recognized that it is contrary to American values and our Constitution for detainees to sit at Guantanamo Bay isolated from scrutiny and with no way to challenge or end their detention.
“Today’s decision also reaffirms the need to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. It has damaged our reputation abroad and is crippling our ability to wage an effective fight against the terrorists who attacked the United States. Secretary Gates, Rice, Admiral Mullen, five former secretaries of state, including Powell, Kissinger and Baker all agree.
“Opponents of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center have argued that bringing prisoners to the U.S. would grant them access to courts. But now that the Supreme Court has made clear that basic legal safeguards must apply to Guantanamo detainees, there should be no impediment to moving detainees to maximum security facilities within the United States. The time has long since passed to end this stain on our nation’s honor.”