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Guantanamo and Its Aftermath

The U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch continue to wrestle with questions about the appropriate laws and policies to address the treatment and status of detainees who have been held at the U.S. military installation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Human Rights Center and the International Human Rights Law Clinic at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law collaborated with the Center for Constitutional Rights to conduct a two-year study of detainees that addresses these questions. One of the only systematic studies of Guantanamo detainees once they have left U.S. custody, the project provides some of the only rigorous empirical data regarding this prisoner population. Through research and interviews with former detainees and key informants, "Guantanamo and Its Aftermath":

  • Developed a factual record of the long-term impact of U.S. detention practices on detainees during their confinement at the Guantanamo Bay facility and after their release from U.S. custody.
  • Assessed how the incarceration of detainees has affected the families and communities of detainees.
  • Recommended appropriate legal mechanisms, detention practices, and polices to protect the human rights of detainees taken into U.S. custody during its pursuit of the "war on terror.

The report was released November 12, 2008, at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. A press conference call was held later that day and is available for download (MP3).

Read the press release or download the full report, Guantánamo and Its Aftermath: U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices and Their Impact on Former Detainees (also available in Arabic and Pashto).

Following the report, students at the International Human Rights Law Clinic prepared a policy paper with recommendations regarding reintegration of former detainees: Returning Home: Resettlement and Reintegration of Detainees Released from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (March 2009). An article about their work appeared in the Law School News Archive, "International Human Rights Law Clinic Students Brief Policymakers on Guantanamo."

In spring 2009, the Human Rights Center joined other organizations in calling on the Obama administration to establish a commission on accountability.

In December 2009, Eric Stover, Laurel Fletcher, and Alexa Koenig published "The Cumulative Effect: A medico-legal approach to United States torture law and policy" (Essex Human Rights Review, 2009).