Obama Administration Officials Drafting Secret Indefinite Detention Policy

April 16, 2010 5:28 pm

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Government Must Follow Rule Of Law, Says ACLU


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WASHINGTON – According to a report today in the Los Angeles Times, some Obama administration officials are in the process of drafting classified guidelines that would allow the government to indefinitely hold terrorism suspects outside of the United States without charge or trial. The policy, if adopted, would apply to future terrorism captures, and is reportedly still being debated within the administration with some officials voicing objections.

The ACLU continues to call on the Obama administration to adhere to the rule of law in its handling of terrorism suspects.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“The Obama administration already has a set of guidelines on how to handle terrorism suspects: it’s called the Constitution, and it is deeply discouraging that the administration is having a debate on how to circumvent it. The rule of law is not optional, and we do not need an elaborate set of guidelines – especially a secret one – that has the function of creating loopholes to it. It is time to put an end to the assumption that the only way to keep us safe is to violate our most fundamental laws and values.”

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

“After eight years of an administration that frequently and flagrantly flouted the law in secret, we should be turning the page, not adding paragraphs to it. While enemy belligerents captured on a battlefield can be held by the military until hostilities have ceased, civilian terror suspects captured far from any battlefield must be charged as criminals. If the evidence is too flimsy or unreliable to justify a prosecution, it is certainly too flimsy and unreliable to justify detention without charge and trial.”

More information about why terrorism suspects should be tried in civilian courts is available online at: www.aclu.org/national-security/terrorism-cases-should-be-tried-federal-court

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