Constitution Project Welcomes Transfer of Detainee Into Federal Judicial System to Face Charges

Same should be done for all remaining terrorism suspects at Guantanamo

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

WASHINGTON – Today marks the first time the Obama administration has transferred a suspected terrorist being held at Guantanamo Bay into the United States to face criminal charges. Ahmed Ghailani, a native Tanzanian held at Guantanamo since September 2006, was moved to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan this morning and is expected to face federal charges later today for involvement in the 1998 East African embassy bombings. The Constitution Project welcomes today’s transfer and reliance on the federal criminal justice system to handle the prosecutions of those being detained at Guantanamo.

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

“This is not a partisan issue. The Constitution Project’s call for prosecutions in our traditional federal courts was endorsed by a broad coalition of conservatives and liberals alike, including over thirty-five political leaders, national security experts, legal scholars, and former federal judges and prosecutors. By transferring Ahmed Ghailani from Guantanamo into the United States to face criminal charges, the Obama administration has recognized the capacity of our nation’s federal judicial system to handle even the most difficult terrorism cases. We hope that members of Congress and all Americans will also support this effort to bring detainees to justice.

“This is an important step in restoring the United States’ observance of the rule of law, but there is still a long way to go. What remains to be seen, and what will be the true test of adherence to Constitutional principles by the Obama administration, is how the remaining terrorism suspects will be handled. If even one is entered into a policy of ‘prolonged detention,’ as suggested by President Obama last month, our nation’s commitment to the rule of law will not be realized. Detaining suspects indefinitely without charge is an abandonment of our principles and will continue to damage our nation’s security and standing in the world. The administration should follow a similar course of pursuing criminal charges in U.S. courts for those suspected terrorists who still remain at Guantanamo.”

The Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee released a report, “A Critique of ‘National Security Courts,’” objecting to the policy of indefinite or preventive detention without charge. The report was signed by a broad bipartisan coalition of over thirty-five political leaders, national security experts, and legal scholars, and was updated in March to include endorsements from additional former federal judges and prosecutors, and from supporting organizations. Click here to see the report.

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