Posted on December 7, 2022
Thanks to CREDO members, the Center for Constitutional Rights continues the fight for a more just and liberatory world
Through high-impact litigation, advocacy campaigns, and strategic communications, our grantees at the Center for Constitutional Rights partner with progressive social movements to dismantle structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and abusive government power.
In May 2022, CREDO members voted to donate $34,000 to help CCR fight oppressive systems of power, protect social movements and communities under threat, and build a more just and liberatory world.
Powered in part by the generosity of CREDO and our members, CCR had some recent victories and launched some great new initiatives. Here’s a quick rundown from the organization:
In August, CCR and a delegation of clients hosted by CCR from our Louisiana Environmental Racism Justice Project traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to testify at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD) latest review of the United States.
On August 30, the Committee issued their report, which took the unprecedented step of calling on the U.S. government to address the legacies of colonialism and slavery by beginning a process to provide reparations to descendants of enslaved people. The Committee also took the unusual step of citing human rights violations in a specific state: environmental racism in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley.
Their report incorporated several of the delegation’s proposals, among them “adopting moratoriums on the authorization of new heavy industry facilities and expansion of existing ones,” and “protect[ing] historical sites of cultural significance for these communities from harm by extractive and manufacturing industries.”
While affected communities have been calling attention to the harms of toxic industries in Cancer Alley for decades, the day after our clients testified, they received an invitation from the Army Corps of Engineers for a consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, which was opened by the Bush administration after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Since its opening in 2002, CCR has been at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantánamo, directly representing dozens of detainees in habeas cases, before military commissions, and in civil cases, and doing all we can to advance efforts to close the prison in a just manner. This year brought once-unimaginable developments, including the transfer of two CCR clients, and the eligibility for transfer of the remaining three.
Among the latter is Guled Hassan Duran, who was brought to Guantánamo in 2006 after being rendered at CIA black sites following his capture in Djibouti. Upon his transfer to Guantánamo, the U.S. government designated Guled as a High-Value Detainee (HVD) — but unlike nearly all of the 16 others so designated, he was never charged or even slated for prosecution — an indication that the government did not believe it had much of a case against him. On January 10, 2022, the Biden administration announced that Guled had been approved for transfer through the administrative Periodic Review Board (PRB) process. (PRBs are parole-like administrative proceedings held before representatives of multiple federal agencies in which the government determines whether or not to clear a detainee for release. The decision must be unanimous to take effect.) As a result, Guled became the first High Value Detainee to be cleared for release from Guantánamo through the PRB process. The development was a remarkable milestone that opened the door to potential clearances of additional HVDs and eventual closure of the prison.
Despite Guled’s clearance for transfer, he remains imprisoned due to inaction by both the courts and the Biden administration. On November 7, CCR and co-counsel filed a motion in federal court urging the judge to act on Guled’s long-stalled habeas case, in which discovery motions were filed in fall 2020 but no ruling has been issued. At the same time, the government said it would make “vigorous efforts” to transfer Guled, but has not done so, according to his legal team. Guled’s need for transfer has been made all the more urgent by continuing medical problems exacerbated by his abuse in a CIA black site, including a hospitalization in October for life-threatening intestinal maladies. We hope this new legal filing will urge the court to facilitate his transfer.