Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Progress in the War on Terror

The U.S. has kept hundreds of terrorism suspects jailed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facilitating their, at best, questionable treatment and interrogation. The incarceration, interrogation, and potential trial by military tribunal are practices which cast doubt on the legitimacy of our means of bringing terrorists to justice, and these practices need to be changed. The entire process must be brought into the light of day to demonstrate, at home and abroad, America's commitment to the rule of law

Today we learned that this change may finally be beginning. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian national, is the first detainee held at Guantanamo to be transferred to the United States to face criminal prosecution. Ghailani has been indicted in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, in which 224 people died.

''With his appearance in federal court today, Ahmed Ghailani is being held accountable for his alleged role in the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of 224 people,'' Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release. ''The Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case.''

We hope that the process of trying terrorism suspects in U.S. courts will both bring terrorists to justice and enable the U.S. to reclaim the high moral ground on prisoner treatment that it once occupied.

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