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

For Immediate Release

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Contact: 

Matthew Allee
(202) 580-6922 or
mallee@constitutionproject.org

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

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. To see the report, go to:
http://www.constitutionproject.org/manage/file/144.pdf
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The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at http://constitutionproject.org/.

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