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Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

U.S. Should Prosecute 9/11 Suspects in Federal Criminal Courts, Says ACLU

Attorney General Holder Says Decision Faces Continued Delay

NEW YORK - Attorney General Holder said this weekend
on CBS' Face the Nation that no decision has been made yet about how or
where to prosecute the 9/11 suspects. Holder said that several
situations have delayed the decision.

While Holder said that the
administration is still deciding whether to try the suspects in military
commissions or federal criminal courts, he referred to the United
States' "great criminal justice system that has proven effective in
these kinds of cases over the years," and said that excluding the use of
the criminal justice system would be "taking away one of the tools that
we have." The American Civil Liberties Union has been calling on the
government to shut down the illegitimate military commissions and try
the suspects in federal criminal courts that uphold due process and the
rule of law.

Holder also restated his support for
the federal government's proposed purchase of Thomson Correctional
Facility in Thomson, Illinois to hold many of the Guantánamo detainees.
The ACLU, along with many human rights and civil rights organizations,
opposes the purchase of the Thomson prison unless Congress bans the
practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial at Thomson.


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The following can
be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU:

"The administration announced last
year that the 9/11 defendants would be tried in federal criminal courts.
That was a decision made after many months of consideration by the
Justice Department, and it was the right decision. The administration
should not retreat to the military commissions because of politics. As
Attorney General Holder said, federal criminal courts have many years of
experience trying complicated terrorism cases and are capable of
delivering outcomes we can trust. And unlike the military commissions,
they are seen as legitimate and fair, not just inside the United States
but around the world. To use the tainted military commissions for the
most important terrorism trials in U.S. history would be irresponsible.
It would bog the trials down in unnecessary litigation, undermine their
legitimacy in the eyes of the world, and delay justice that has already
been delayed too long."


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