Rights Group Applauds Senate Vote for Justice for 9/11 Defendants
Human Rights First applauds the Senate’s defeat today of an amendment that threatened to impede efforts to bring to justice those accused of the most serious terrorist act in U.S. history. The amendment, offered by Senator Graham to H.R. 2847, Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY 2010, would have prohibited the use of funds for the prosecution in federal court of individuals suspected of planning, authorizing, organizing, committing, or aiding the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
“The Senate has rightly expressed confidence in the fact that our federal courts are the correct forum for dealing with these cases effective and fairly,” stated Devon Chaffee, Advocacy Counsel for Human Rights First. “The administration needs to have full access to one of the most valuable tools in its counterterrorism tool box:: prosecution before regular U.S. federal courts.”
“When the planners of 9/11, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are finally brought to justice, it will be an extraordinarily important moment in the struggle against terrorism,” noted Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, who served as the Navy’s Judge Advocate General from 1997-2000. “If these trials are held before civilian judges and juries, it will highlight the strength and legitimacy of our system of justice, and at long last focus the world’s attention where it belongs: on the crimes these men committed against us, rather than on how we are treating them.”
Yesterday over 120 former Members of Congress, diplomats, federal judges and prosecutors, retired senior military officers and government officials, as well as foreign policy and national security experts and bar leaders released the attached plan, entitled Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration (hyperlink to: (/wp-content/uploads/pdf/declaration-&-signatories-110409.pdf), for the handling of detainees when the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is closed. The plan supports the reliance on federal courts for trying Guantanamo detainees suspected of having committed crimes. In September, four retired military leaders, admirals and generals, sent President Obama a letter urging him to pursue prosecution of the 9/11 defendants in U.S. civilian courts.
Human Rights First has consistently called for Guant