February 12, 2010

Obama Administration Must Stay The Course And Hold Trials In Federal Court, Says ACLU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – According to a report in the Washington Post today, President Obama will be playing a larger role in determining where and how to proceed with the prosecutions of the accused 9/11 plotters. In November, Attorney General Eric Holder made the correct decision when he announced that the trials would be held in federal court. He stated that they would occur in the Southern District of New York. But reports indicate that in response to pressure from Congress and local New York officials, the administration might consider transferring the cases to another federal court or even into the discredited military commission system.

The following can be attributed to Laura Murphy, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:

“We are concerned that President Obama’s involvement in discussions about the location of the 9/11 trials could be an indication that his administration is wavering on its commitment to prosecuting these cases in federal court. Despite any pressure from Congress or elsewhere, the Obama administration must stay the course and hold the 9/11 trials in federal courts where they belong. Abiding by the Constitution is not optional, and our commitment to upholding the rule of law means little if it bends in response to political pressure.”

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

“The accused 9/11 plotters and other terrorism suspects are criminals and should be treated as such, not elevated to the status of warriors. These cases must remain in federal court, and not be moved into the discredited military commission system. Our civilian court system has proven repeatedly that it is well equipped to handle terrorism cases, protecting both national security interests and fundamental rights. The military commissions remain a second class system of justice that fails to meet domestic and international legal standards, and their outcomes would always be plagued by doubt."

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