May 23, 2013
In a piece for the Huffington Post, Professor Ramzi Kassem writes on “What Obama Should Not Say on Thursday” and the president’s upcoming address later today on United States counterterrorism policy, including his pledge to close the prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. Prof. Kassem, who represents some of the men held at Guantanamo, writes that Obama’s address “comes as the men held at that infamous prison for over a decade, including many of the men my students and I represent, have passed the hundred-day milestone of a hunger strike, protesting their indefinite imprisonment without fair process.”
He continues, “The prison’s existence also contravenes basic human values. Imprisoning people without fair process for over a decade is consonant neither with democracy nor with the rule of law. In his years in office, Obama has retreated from the moral argument against Guantánamo. If he is serious about closing the prison and not repeating the errors of the past, then he should reclaim that moral high ground.”
Prof. Kassem is the director of the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic and oversees the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project at CUNY Law. Before joining the CUNY Law faculty in 2009, Professor Kassem was a Robert M. Cover Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, where he taught in the Civil Liberties & National Security Clinic as well as the Worker & Immigrant Rights & Advocacy Clinic. Professor Kassem also previously served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he taught in the International Justice Clinic.