For Immediate Release


Laurie Gindin Beacham, (212) 519-7811 or 549-2666;


ACLU Praises Obama’s Plan to Close Guantánamo

Government’s Replacement of Military Judge in 9/11 Cases Is Transparent Attempt to Ram Through Cases Before Administration Changes, Adds Group

American Civil Liberties Union strongly praises President-elect Barack
Obama's promise on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday night to close down
Guantánamo and its unconstitutional military commissions being used to
prosecute detainees.

"After eight years of a Bush
administration that thumbed its nose at the Constitution and the rule
of law, it is incredibly gratifying that President-elect Obama plans to
put an end to the Guantánamo prison camp and its sham military
commission system which have been a stain on America's name at home and
abroad. We strongly urge him to take such action on Day One with the
stroke of a pen, by executive order," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive
Director of the ACLU. "The Bush military commissions that violate core
constitutional principles and rely on hearsay, secret evidence and
evidence obtained through torture have no place in our democracy.
Federal civilian or military courts are perfectly capable of handling
terrorism prosecutions and accommodating sensitive national security
concerns, as has been demonstrated time and time again."

On Monday morning, immediately
following President-elect Obama's promise to close Guantánamo and its
shameful commissions, it was announced that a new military judge would
be assigned to the military commission cases against Guantánamo
detainees accused of perpetrating 9/11 crimes, effective immediately.

"The timing of the announcement to
replace the military commission judge on the 9/11 cases is highly
suspect and disturbing," said Romero. "We cannot allow the Bush
administration to sabotage President-elect Obama's plans by ramming
through these cases in its last days while the new administration is
making plans to dismantle the military commission system. This seems
like a quintessential set-up by a defeated administration bitter about
its failure to achieve the real justice Americans deserve."

As part of the John Adams Project, a
partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,
the ACLU is sponsoring expert civilian counsel to assist the
under-resourced military defense counsel for several Guantánamo
detainees. More information on the John Adams Project is available
online at:


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