What have I taken away from this experience?” Repeating a question, Park Avenue attorney Paul Winke ’90 paused over his breakfast in a nearby restaurant, where he’d been persuaded to stop billing hours long enough to discuss his pro bono work in behalf of detainees at the U.S. base at Guantánamo, Cuba. “I’ve certainly been grateful to be part of a historic effort—maddening though it has been to have to fight our own government for basic legal protections. This hasn’t been about tilting at windmills but about actually getting people out of prison.”
The best-known of Winke’s Guantánamo cases involved six Algerians living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the “named” plaintiff, Lakhdar Boumediene. All were detained in 2001 on suspicion of participating in a plot to bomb a U.S. embassy and jailed by Bosnian authorities. When subsequently cleared, the six were, in Winke’s words, “effectively kidnapped” by U.S. agents and sent to Guantánamo, triggering a judicial process that consumed four years and countless unbillable hours.