U.S. Should Prosecute 9/11 Suspects In Federal Criminal Courts, Says ACLU

July 12, 2010 12:00 am

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Attorney General Holder Says Decision Faces Continued Delay

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NEW YORK – Attorney General Holder said this weekend on CBS’ Face the Nation that no decision has been made yet about how or where to prosecute the 9/11 suspects. Holder said that several situations have delayed the decision.

While Holder said that the administration is still deciding whether to try the suspects in military commissions or federal criminal courts, he referred to the United States’ “great criminal justice system that has proven effective in these kinds of cases over the years,” and said that excluding the use of the criminal justice system would be “taking away one of the tools that we have.” The American Civil Liberties Union has been calling on the government to shut down the illegitimate military commissions and try the suspects in federal criminal courts that uphold due process and the rule of law.

Holder also restated his support for the federal government’s proposed purchase of Thomson Correctional Facility in Thomson, Illinois to hold many of the Guantánamo detainees. The ACLU, along with many human rights and civil rights organizations, opposes the purchase of the Thomson prison unless Congress bans the practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial at Thomson.

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

“The administration announced last year that the 9/11 defendants would be tried in federal criminal courts. That was a decision made after many months of consideration by the Justice Department, and it was the right decision. The administration should not retreat to the military commissions because of politics. As Attorney General Holder said, federal criminal courts have many years of experience trying complicated terrorism cases and are capable of delivering outcomes we can trust. And unlike the military commissions, they are seen as legitimate and fair, not just inside the United States but around the world. To use the tainted military commissions for the most important terrorism trials in U.S. history would be irresponsible. It would bog the trials down in unnecessary litigation, undermine their legitimacy in the eyes of the world, and delay justice that has already been delayed too long.”

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