Obama Administration Indefinite Detention Order Would Undermine American Values Of Justice, Says ACLU

June 26, 2009 12:00 am

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Order Would Authorize Unconstitutional And Unjust System

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NEW YORK – According to news reports, the Obama administration is considering issuing an executive order that would reassert executive authority to imprison terrorism suspects without charge or trial.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“This is not change – this is more of the same. If President Obama issues an executive order authorizing indefinite detention, he’ll be repeating the same mistakes of George Bush, and his policies will be destined to fail as were his predecessor’s. How justice is served in America should not be an open question in a country where we have a rule of law and a time-tested criminal justice system. Throwing people into prison without charge, conviction or providing them with a trial is about as un-American as you can get. While President Obama might be experiencing difficulty with Congress when it comes to implementing his decision to close Guantánamo, the answer is not to issue an executive order authorizing a system which is unconstitutional and counter to the most fundamental American values.

“Our criminal justice system has repeatedly proven itself to be extremely capable of protecting national security evidence and providing fundamental rights while achieving reliable justice. Our criminal laws are broad enough to cover activity even remotely related to terrorism. And the government has had long enough to gather untainted and admissible evidence against those it is convinced are dangerous or guilty.

“Indefinite detention without charge was unconstitutional under the Bush administration and remains so under the Obama administration, whether authorized by a law or through executive decree. We must put an end to the incorrect and ineffective assumption that the only way to keep us safe is to violate our most basic principles.”

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