Beyond Guantanamo Signatories Meet with Legislators to Support Prosecutions of Terrorism Suspects in Federal Court

Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration supports trials of terrorism suspects in traditional federal courts and opposes indefinite detention without charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or mallee@constitutionproject.org

WASHINGTON – Today, over a dozen signatories to Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration came to Washington to meet with members of Congress to advocate for the trial of terrorism suspects in traditional federal court, rather than by military commission. Signatories also cautioned against using a system of indefinite detention to hold suspects without charge or trial. Today’s efforts are particularly timely given recent fierce debates about these issues, along with pending legislation that could force the administration to pursue prosecutions of terrorism suspects only in military commissions.

Released in November 2009, Beyond Guantanamo was organized by the Constitution Project and Human Rights First. Its signatories call on the Obama administration and Congress to support a policy for closing Guantanamo that is consistent with our constitutional principles and that also ensures our country’s security. Joined by nearly 140 prominent Americans, including former members of Congress, diplomats, federal judges and prosecutors, high-level military and government officials, as well as national security and foreign policy experts, bar leaders, and family members of 9/11 victims, the Declaration supports prosecution of terrorism suspects in traditional federal court, rather than by military commission, and opposes indefinite detention without charge.

The following can be attributed to Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project:

“For far too long, the national debate around how and where to try suspected terrorists now held at Guantanamo has been wrongly framed as a partisan dispute. It is simply wrong to believe that national security issues have to pit Democrats against Republicans, and conservatives against progressives. Beyond Guantanamo is an example of policy experts from across the political spectrum who have come together to support federal court prosecutions for suspected terrorists and to oppose any policy of indefinite detention without charge.

“With the Obama administration currently mulling its options and legislation being considered in Congress that would significantly limit the president’s choices, administration officials and members of Congress must hear from this eminent group of experts that justice cannot be politicized, and there is clear bipartisan consensus about the requirements of our Constitution.”

Click here to view a copy of the Declaration and signatories.

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