For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brenda Bowser-Soder, Human Rights First
202-370-3323 |

Smith Amendment to NDAA a Step in the Right Direction

WASHINGTON - Human Rights First welcomes the announcement that Representative Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, will propose an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would repeal mandatory military custody and ban indefinite detention in the United States.

“This amendment is an excellent first step in the right direction,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “Americans were rightly outraged to find out that the military may be used to indefinitely detain individuals far from the battlefield, including here at home. This amendment makes clear that the United States will not use national security threats as an excuse to turn its back on the protections enshrined in our Constitution.”


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In addition to banning indefinite detention within the United States, the amendment would repeal a requirement, embedded in the Fiscal Year 2012 NDAA, designed to force a category of foreign terrorism suspects into military custody.

“National security experts from across the political spectrum agree that it’s a bad idea to force the military to take custody of terrorism suspects,” added Wala. “This amendment would repeal mandatory military custody for terrorism suspects, a provision that was opposed by the FBI Director, CIA Director, Director of National Intelligence, and Secretary of Defense.”


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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.

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