Senator Graham Proposes Indefinite Detention Legislation To White House

For Immediate Release


Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312;

Senator Graham Proposes Indefinite Detention Legislation To White House

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has presented legislation to the White House
regarding future handling of terrorism suspects, according to a report
in the Washington Post today. Senior White House officials reportedly
have begun circulating a summary of the draft legislation to some
members of Congress. Graham has reportedly outlined new
procedures for habeas corpus claims and a new indefinite detention
authority. The American Civil Liberties Union believes that detaining
individuals indefinitely without charging them with a crime or
providing them a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention is
un-American and violates our commitment to due process and the rule of

Senator Graham has
also been urging the Obama administration to use the discredited
military commissions for the trials of 9/11 suspects despite Attorney
General Eric Holder’s announcement in November that the Justice
Department would be using federal criminal courts for these
prosecutions. Since 9/11, there have been over 300 successfully
completed terrorism-related trials in federal court. The military
commissions have completed only three terrorism-related cases, with two
of three convicted defendants having served relatively short sentences
they have already completed. 
The ACLU believes the
military commissions, despite some improvements through legislation,
remain unworkable and should be shut down for good. President Obama has
reportedly not yet reached a decision on where to hold the 9/11 trials. 
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
pressure from Senator Graham, the Obama administration should not enact
any policies that allow for the indefinite detention of individuals –
potentially for a lifetime – without providing due process and a
meaningful opportunity to challenge the detention. Indefinite detention
without charge or trial flies in the face of American values and
violates this country’s commitment to the rule of law. The assumption
that sacrificing our principles will make us safe is not only false; it
is dangerous. If Senator Graham’s legislation is introduced, Congress
must stand strong and uphold our most cherished values, not cement into
law policies that rival the worst of the Bush administration’s legacy.
Even during years immediately following 9/11, Congress never took the
unprecedented step of passing an indefinite detention statute. Now that
there is a president and Congress who have stated a commitment to the
rule of law, it would be a terrible irony to have this kind of
legislation seriously considered. We urge both the White House and
Congress to reject any indefinite detention proposal.”
The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"The Obama administration should not
use the discredited military commissions system for the most important
terrorism trials in American history. The federal criminal justice
system has experienced judges, experienced prosecutors, a track record
that includes hundreds of successful terrorism prosecutions and
procedural rules that have been tested and refined over two centuries.
To displace this system for a military commissions system that does not
have rules, that is certain to result in further delay, that has
resulted in only three convictions over eight years and that is viewed
as illegitimate by much of the rest of the world, would be deeply
irresponsible. Attorney General Holder’s decision to use federal
criminal courts was the right decision for national security and the
right decision for the rule of law. The Obama administration should
reaffirm the decision, not reverse it."

More information about why terrorism suspects should be tried in civilian courts is available online at:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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