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Debate on Prisoner Detention at Guantanamo to Be Hosted at Pomona College

The Pomona Student Union at Pomona College will present a debate by leading experts on prisoner detention at Guantanamo, on Thursday, February 9, at 8 p.m. The two participants have played pivotal roles in the development and legal standing of the policy of the detention of enemy combatants.

John Yoo served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, from 2001 to 2003, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers. During that time, he authored many of the legal opinions that have become central to the debate over Guantanamo Bay. Currently a professor of law at the UC Berkeley School of Law, he has also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and served as general counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995-96. He is the author of the 2005 book "The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11."

Avidan Cover, a senior associate for the non-profit group Human Rights First, was a part of the legal team for Rasul, the main plaintiff in the Guantanamo Bay case Rasul v. Bush, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, in June 2004. Cover has also monitored the military commission process, attending war crimes trial proceedings at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Cover’s work with Human Rights First involves promoting human rights and civil liberties in U.S. law and policy related to counterterrorism and national security, through research and reporting, litigation and advocacy. In addition to analyzing U.S. uses of security and detention domestically, at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, he helps coordinate legislative efforts in the organization’s "End Torture Now" campaign.

The Pomona Student Union, the host of the debate, is a non-partisan student organization dedicated to "raising the level of honest and open dialogue on campus. By helping students become more knowledgeable and better informed on the political and social issues that confront our society, we create informed citizens to better serve us all.” In addition to bringing in speakers, the Pomona Student Union sponsors student and faculty debates and panels, as well as informal social events structured around current events.

The event is open to the public and will be held in Pomona College Smith Campus Center, Edmunds Ballroom, 170 E. Sixth St., Claremont. There is no charge to attend. For more information, call (909) 607-6622.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, was founded in 1885.