Adnan Latif is the human face of indefinite detention at Guantánamo, a policy President Obama now owns. Mr. Latif, held without charge or trial, died a tragic and personal death—alone in a cell, thousands of miles from home, more than a decade after he was abducted and brought to Guantánamo Bay. Like other men, Mr. Latif had been on hunger strike for years to protest his innocence. His protests were in vain.
Adnan Latif was indeed innocent of any wrongdoing that would have justified his detention. President Obama’s Justice Department knew he was innocent but appealed a district court order directing his release rather than send him home to Yemen. The president has imposed a moratorium on all transfers to Yemen, which is why more than half of the remaining detainees are Yemenis.
Adnan Latif was held indefinitely and ultimately for life because of his Yemeni citizenship, not his conduct.
When the D.C. Circuit overturned the order for Adnan Latif’s release, a strong dissenting opinion criticized the majority for not just “moving the goal posts, [but calling] the game in the government’s favor.” At the end of the day, the U.S. Supreme Court remained locked away in its ivory tower, ignoring an innocent man’s plea and its own promise of “meaningful review.” They all share in the responsibility for this innocent man’s fate.
Adnan Latif’s death is a stark reminder that locking up someone for more than a decade with no foreseeable end has irreparable human consequences. More men will die needlessly unless President Obama finally closes the prison. Adnan Latif’s death must be a clarion call to resume transfers and end this dark period.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for the last 10 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. In addition, CCR has been working through diplomatic channels to resettle men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.