July 7, 2010

Terrorism Suspects Should Be Prosecuted In Federal Courts, Says ACLU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, CUBA – Ibrahim al-Qosi today pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and material support for terrorism, marking the first conviction in the flawed military commissions system under the Obama administration. Al-Qosi, a Sudanese national, has spent more than eight years in Guantánamo. The American Civil Liberties Union has called for an end to the Guantánamo military commissions and for terrorism suspects to be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system.

The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program, who is at Guantánamo as a human rights observer in the al Qosi trial:

"Unfortunately, the legitimacy of this conviction and any other conviction in the flawed military commissions will always be open to question due to the fundamental problems with the system. Even with recent improvements, the military commissions remain incapable of delivering outcomes we can trust. Terrorism-related crimes should be tried in the federal criminal justice system, which has a successful track record and can both protect sensitive national security information and uphold due process. The military commissions system is untested, unreliable and considered illegitimate throughout much of the world. It’s discouraging that, at a time when the Obama administration should be fulfilling its pledge to restore the rule of law, it is instead continuing this broken system that is incapable of delivering reliable justice."

Al-Qosi's sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 9. The details of the plea bargain have not been disclosed.

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