Charges Announced for 9/11 Suspects Under Defective Military Commissions System

May 31, 2011 5:45 pm

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NEW YORK – Taking the next step down the path of using the broken military commissions system, the Defense Department announced today that charges have been filed against five men being held at Guantánamo Bay and accused of taking part in the 9/11 attacks.

In April, under pressure from within and outside of Congress, the Obama administration reversed a 2009 decision to try the men in federal court and decided instead to try them using military commissions that have been broadly criticized. Unlike federal courts, which have well-established rules of procedure and evidence, the rules of the military commissions do not comply with U.S. and international law.

Under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, charges filed by prosecutors are forwarded to the military commissions’ Convening Authority, who will determine the final charges that will be brought.

The following can be attributed to Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project:

“The announcement of charges takes the Obama administration one step further down the wrong path in its prosecution of the most important terrorism cases of our time. The widely condemned military commissions system is riddled with constitutional and procedural problems, and the outcome will not be seen as credible.

“The correct place to try terrorism suspects remains the federal court system, and the Obama administration should have stuck to its original decision to hold fair trials in American courts. Now the process of serving justice – already delayed by torture and indefinite detention – will be further thwarted.”

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