News Release

President Obama Signs Bill to Keep Detainees at Guantanamo

Washington, DC (January 3, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) expresses its deep disappointment that despite his administration’s stated commitment to close the Guantanamo detention facility, as well as the urging of dozens of religious, civil and human rights groups, including NACDL, President Obama decided not to use his veto power to stop the enactment of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and its provisions restricting the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo for either repatriation or resettlement overseas or prosecution in the United States. Instead, President Obama again signed these restrictions into law yesterday, January 2, 2013.

In addition to precluding proper prosecutions in U.S. courts of law, this law makes it difficult, for yet another year, to transfer prisoners to their home or other countries – including those at Guantanamo already cleared for transfer by the Bush and Obama Administrations. As NACDL has maintained year after year, implementation of this type of legislation undermines the rule of law and harms U.S. interests abroad.

Regardless of the President’s current level of commitment to the “moral high ground” he spoke of when signing his January 2009 executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, NACDL takes that commitment very seriously and will continue to work tirelessly for the cessation of unconstitutional detentions and proceedings at Guantanamo, and for the facility’s prompt closure.

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Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.