ACLU Says Federal Criminal Justice System Appropriate For Guantánamo Detainees

January 29, 2009 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – Contrary to some news reports, the American Civil Liberties Union’s position on the handling of Guantánamo detainees following the closure of the prison camp remains steadfast and consistent. The ACLU maintains that our federal prison system is perfectly capable of holding terrorism suspects pending trial and incarcerating them if convicted. Statements from ACLU state affiliates that might indicate otherwise do not reflect the national office’s position.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

“As President Obama courageously dismantles the Guantánamo prison camp, a chorus of obstructionists is waging a fear campaign in an effort to tie his hands. Each day, these naysayers make new claims arguing that our criminal justice system is incapable of prosecuting and imprisoning terrorism suspects, when that is clearly not the case. Our court system and federal prisons are fully capable of providing both security and due process. In fact, several convicted terrorists have been prosecuted and successfully incarcerated in high-security federal prisons – including Colorado’s Supermax facility – without posing any risk to the public’s safety, including Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik convicted in the first World Trade Center attacks. Dangerous criminals who have committed horrible crimes are locked up in prisons all over this country every day and nobody wages campaigns objecting to that. This is clearly a politically motivated fear-mongering effort from those who wish to perpetuate the Bush administration’s failed illegal detention policies.”

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