(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/10/16) – The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined 10 other national civil liberties, human rights and faith organizations in a letter to the U.S. Senate urging members to vote â€œNOâ€ on S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA), because of strong restrictions imposed on the Presidentâ€™s ability to transfer prisoners being held at Guantanamo detention facility.
This morning, the Senate cut off debate on the NDAA and a final vote on the bill is expected sometime today or early next week.
The letter states that the â€œharmful and unwarranted transfer restrictions in the current version of the bill will make closing the Guantanamo detention facility much more difficult and continue the practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial.â€
The letter characterizes the Senate version of the NDAA as possessing â€œthe most onerous restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo of any NDAA on the Senate floor in the entire 14-year history of Guantanamo.â€
Earlier this week the Obama administration issued in its Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the Senateâ€™s draft of the NDAA reaffirming that â€œif the President were presented with S. 2943, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.â€
The Administrationâ€™s SAP went on to call the Guantanamo transfer restrictions as â€œunwarranted;â€ â€œattempting to dictate how the Executive Branch conducts foreign policy;â€ â€œweaken our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists;â€ in some circumstances, â€œviolat constitutional separation of powers principles;â€ and in some circumstances, â€œinterfer with the ability to transfer a detainee who has been granted a writ of habeas corpus.â€
Co-signers of the letter include: The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Constitution Project, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Defending Dissent Foundation, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Human Rights First, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Physicians for Human Rights, and Win Without War.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.