Statement from Former Commandant of Marine Corps on Sending NY Suspect to Guantanamo

Washington, D.C.—In response to President Trump’s remarks that he would consider sending Sayfullo Saipov, the accused perpetrator of yesterday’s attack in New York, to Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights First has released the following statement from retired General Charles C. Krulak, former commandant of the Marine Corps:

“If the president truly wants ‘quick justice’ and ‘strong justice,’ he should never consider designating this suspect as an ‘enemy combatant’ or sending him to Guantanamo Bay. Federal courts have a track record of fairly and expeditiously dealing with terrorism suspects, having handled more than six hundred cases since 9/11. The criminal justice process has enabled our government to gather timely, actionable intelligence to drive our counterterrorism efforts.”

“Designating this suspect an ’enemy combatant’ does not make America safer. On the contrary: it legitimizes individuals who are nothing more than thugs and criminals by branding them as the warriors they wish to be.”

Human Rights First notes that federal courts have proven much more effective at obtaining convictions of terrorist suspects than military commissions. Since September 11, 2001, military commission trials have resulted in only eight convictions, three of which were reversed or overturned entirely and one partially. Meanwhile, federal courts have produced more than six hundred terrorism-related convictions in the same period, including 108 in which the defendant was captured abroad.


Published on November 1, 2017


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