February 05, 2009

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By Kathryn Kopchik

Attorney Gitanjali GutierrezLEWISBURG, Pa. — Gitanjali Gutierrez, a 1992 graduate of Bucknell University who is serving as counsel for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, will give the talk, "Torture, Guantanamo and American Values," on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the University Lectureship Committee, Departments of Psychology and Political Science, 2008-2009 Peace & Resistance Program, Samek Art Gallery, and Office of LGBT Awareness at Bucknell.

"We are honored that Attorney Gutierrez will be speaking at Bucknell," said Bill Flack, associate professor of psychology at Bucknell. "She is a distinguished alumna who is directly involved in addressing an issue of major national and international importance."

CCR attorney
Gutierrez is an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a New York-based human rights organization litigating extensive challenges to the executive’s post-9/11 anti-terrorism policies. Her work focuses on challenges to unlawful detention and torture, national security issues and anti-terrorism practices.

“[Guantánamo] has become an intelligence and national security failure, as well as a moral stain and corrupt symbol that cannot continue," Gutierrez wrote on the CCR website. "CCR does not challenge the authority of the executive to hold POWs in times of armed conflict. But the idea of executive prisons outside the law is just as morally and legally corrupt as slavery, internment and segregation. Fifty, 20, or maybe fewer years from now, our nation will hopefully understand Guantánamo and the 'global war on terror' to be two of the bleaker moments in our history."

Supreme Court cases
Gutierrez was a member of the legal team representing the Guantánamo detainees in Rasul v. Bush before the United States Supreme Court in 2004 and in Boumediene v. Bush in 2008. Following CCR's 2004 victory in Rasul, she conducted the first visit by a habeas attorney to Guantánamo in September 2004. Since that time, she has been meeting frequently at the military prison with clients from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Syria and the Sudan.

She is counsel for Mohammed al Qahtani, a Saudi citizen detained in Guantánamo, who was subjected to the "first special interrogation plan," which has been described as a regime of torture and inhuman treatment authorized by the Secretary of Defense. The capital charges against al Qahtani were dismissed by the Military Commissions Convening Authority in May 2008.

Gutierrez also represents Majid Khan, a Baltimore resident and citizen of Pakistan transferred from secret CIA detention to imprisonment at Guantánamo in September 2006.

Gutierrez graduated magna cum laude from Cornell Law School in 2001 and was a managing editor for the Cornell Law Review. Following graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Guido Calabresi, United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit; taught International Human Rights Law and Terrorism at Cornell Law School; and served as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons, P.C.

Contact: Division of Communications


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