For Immediate Release
Brenda Bowser Soder
(202) 370-3323 - direct, (301) 906-4460 - cell
Rights Group Hails Al-Marri Plea as Proof that Existing Criminal Justice System Works
WASHINGTON - Praising yesterday's plea agreement in which Ali Saleh Kahlah
al-Marri pled guilty to conspiracy to provide material support or
resources to Al Qaeda as further evidence that the U.S. criminal
justice system is best equipped to handle complex terrorism cases,
Human Rights First advocacy counsel Devon Chaffee:
"This plea agreement demonstrates that our existing, tried and true
federal criminal justice system is where these cases belong. There is
no need to reinvent the wheel when we already have in place a highly
adaptive and flexible system of delivering justice. The Obama
Administration should follow the example it set in this case and bring
Guántanamo detainees suspected of having committed a terrorism crime to
justice in existing federal courts. The administration should also
recommend and agree that the court give Mr. Al-Marri credit for the six
years he was imprisoned, largely in isolation and subject to other
forms of ill-treatment without criminal charge, as a so-called enemy
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In May 2008, Human Rights First released a report, In Pursuit of Justice
examining more than 120 international terrorism cases prosecuted in the
federal criminal justice system. The report, written by two former
federal prosecutors, found that existing laws, in the vast majority of
cases, provide an effective basis for detaining, monitoring and
prosecuting terrorist suspects. This same sentiment was echoed
yesterday by Attorney General Eric Holder, when he said that Al-Marri
plea agreement "reflects what we can achieve when we have faith in our
criminal justice system and are unwavering in our commitment to the
values upon which the nation was founded and the rule of law."
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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.