New Military Commissions Compromise Gives License to Abuse Prisoners, ACLU Says Dangerous Proposal Must Be Rejected

September 21, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON - Following announcements that an agreement has been reached between the White House and Senators John Warner (R-VA), John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on military commissions, the American Civil Liberties Union today said the compromise agreement does not protect due process, fails to meet international treaty obligations and urged lawmakers to reject the deal.

The following may be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"This is a compromise of America’s commitment to the rule of law. The proposal would make the core protections of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions irrelevant and unenforceable. It deliberately provides a ‘get out of jail free card’ to the administration’s top torture officials, and backdates that card nine years. These are tactics expected of repressive regimes, not the American government.

"Also under the proposal, the president would have the authority to declare what is - and what is not - a grave breach of the War Crimes Act, making the president his own judge and jury. This provision would give him unilateral authority to declare certain torture and abuse legal and sound. In a telling move, during a call with reporters today, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley would not even answer a question about whether waterboarding would be permitted under the agreement.

"The agreement would also violate time-honored American due process standards by permitting the use of evidence coerced through cruel and abusive treatment. We urge lawmakers to stand firm in their commitment to American values and reject this charade of a compromise."

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