Delays In Al-Nashiri Case Underscore Unfairness Of Military Commissions, Says ACLU

August 27, 2010 4:38 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Terrorism Suspects Should Be Tried In Federal Criminal Courts

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – The revelation that the Obama administration is not planning to prosecute Guantánamo detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri any time soon underscores the inherent unfairness of the military commissions, the American Civil Liberties Union said today. The disclosure that the prosecution of al-Nashiri has stalled came in a court filing earlier this week and was first reported in the Washington Post.

Earlier this week, defense attorney Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen C. Reyes requested the appointment of a mitigation specialist to assist him in preparing a defense in anticipation of a capital military commission trial against al-Nashiri. Bruce MacDonald, the Convening Authority for the military commissions, denied the request because “at this time, charges have not been sworn against Mr. al Nashiri.”

However, the Defense Department issued a statement on Thursday saying that military prosecutors are “actively investigating the case against Mr. al-Nashiri and are developing charges against him.”

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU:

“The current state of the al-Nashiri trial underscores the fact that the military commissions system is designed to get convictions – not to provide fair trials that result in real justice. In the military commissions, the prosecution has all the power and the money, while the defense remains severely under-resourced. While the prosecution is getting paid to perfect its case against al-Nashiri, his lone defense attorney has been denied much-needed resources and all but blocked from preparing a defense. This is one more reason the military commissions should be shut down for good, and terrorism suspects should be tried in federal courts that guarantee the right to a robust defense and uphold the rule of law.”

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.