Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Reparations and Guantánamo's cleared detainees

Justice (Ret) John Paul Stevens
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens gave a remarkable speech on Monday in Washington, D.C. It is available here. Addressing a meeting of Lawyers for Civil Justice, he urged the government to compensate the 57 Guantánamo detainees who have been cleared for release by the six federal agencies that decide such matters. Fifty of them were cleared for transfer over five years ago. All 57 remain imprisoned because Congress has entirely barred their entry into the United States and rendered it all but impossible for the administration to move them elsewhere. "These onerous provisions have hindered the President's ability to close Guantanamo, make no sense, and have no precedent in our history." He analogizes persuasively to the compensation and apology granted to Japanese Americans who were relocated and interned during World War II. Justice Stevens mentioned that it costs the taxpayers $3 million per detainee per year to maintain the facility at Guantánamo, in contrast with the $75,000 its costs to house an inmate in a "supermax" prison.

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