Faced With Prospect Of Military Commission, Guantánamo Detainee Accepts Plea Deal

February 15, 2011 6:34 pm

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Terrorism Suspects Should Be Prosecuted In Federal Courts, Says ACLU

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GUANTÁNAMO BAY, CUBA – Noor Uthman Muhammed today pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and material support for terrorism, marking the third plea in the flawed military commissions system under the Obama administration. Muhammed, a 40 year-old Sudanese national, has been detained at Guantánamo for more than eight years. The American Civil Liberties Union continues to call for an end to the Guantánamo military commissions and for terrorism suspects to be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system.

The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program:

“Unfortunately, the legitimacy of this conviction and any other conviction in the flawed military commissions will always be open to question due to the fundamental problems with the system. After nearly a decade in detention, Muhammed’s plea deal may bring an end to his indefinite detention, but it will not remove the stain of illegitimacy and unfairness of this second-class system of justice. Under the Obama administration, the commissions continue to be used as a way to secure convictions rather than securing justice. The overwhelming majority of Guantánamo detainees have yet to be charged, living in a legal limbo that could be leading some to choose guilty pleas in order to avoid continued indefinite detention. Terrorism-related crimes should be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system, which has a successful track record and can both protect sensitive national security information and uphold due process.”

Muhammed’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

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