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Move Gitmo Cases to U.S. Courts

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April 3, 2009

We’re still thrilled that President Obama committed to closing Guantánamo within days of taking office, and hope that he will heed the ACLU’s call to swiftly shutter the detention facility, shut down the military commissions, and bring any criminal prosecutions in U.S. federal courts. While the Obama administration continues deliberating about what to do with the roughly 240 prisoners who remain, the chorus is officially growing louder.

Last night, on The Rachel Maddow Show, Colin Powell expressed his confidence in the ability of the U.S. federal courts to handle the detainees’ cases:

We’ve got two million people in jail in this country. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world. All of them had lawyers. All of them had access to the writ of habeas corpus and courts found them guilty and put them in jail. And I’m confident that even although evidence may be not adequate or even tainted in some cases, as we know, I have confidence in our Federal court system to handle it.

Today, the AP reports that U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema agrees:

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told a gathering at the University of Virginia law school that the courts’ ability to handle even the most complicated terrorism cases was demonstrated by the prosecution of terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui in her courtroom.

…Brinkema said it’s not her place to recommend whether the government should bring Guantánamo detainees into civilian courts, but that they would be able to handle the cases.

Hopefully President Obama will hear the chorus and agree.

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