Guantánamo Military Commissions Should Not Be Revived, Says ACLU

May 4, 2009 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder have recently suggested that the Obama administration is considering reviving the failed Guantanamo military commissions, and administration officials have reportedly stated this could happen imminently.

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

“To revive a fatally flawed system based on the very premise of evading due process would be a grave error and a huge step backwards when what we need to do is restore American values and the rule of law. These commissions were designed to ignore basic constitutional rights and ensure convictions, not provide fair trials that would deliver credible outcomes. There is no way to tweak this unconstitutional system; ‘due process light’ will not suffice in our democracy.

“As history has repeatedly shown, our tried and true justice system is well-equipped to successfully prosecute terrorism suspects while upholding due process. The Obama administration must reject the myth that there is a class of prisoners who cannot be constitutionally prosecuted and are too dangerous to release. Our government has many broadly defined laws at its disposal including material support and conspiracy and, by now, should have gathered untainted admissible evidence against suspects it believes are guilty and dangerous. The answer cannot be to jerry-rig a new system to accommodate the Bush administration’s torture policies, which would keep us from turning the page on one of the darkest periods of our history.

“Congress must also do its part and waste no time repealing the Military Commissions Act which President Obama rightly rejected as a presidential candidate. Our democracy has no room for laws that fly in the face of its fundamental principles.”

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