For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today called news that officials at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo mishandled more than 500,000 defense attorney emails and appear to be monitoring the lawyers’ internet searches outrageous. The group, responding to news report by Associated Press reporter Ben Fox, said the allegations are further proof that terrorism prosecutions belong in federal courts, not military commissions.
“If it’s true that the CIA has been spying on military commission defense counsel, it is absolutely outrageous,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “This is just further evidence that the military commission system is a sham and that all terrorism trials should be held in real U.S. federal courts on U.S. soil, where the rules are clear, defendants’ rights are respected and the verdicts will have credibility.”
Federal courts have completed nearly 500 cases related to international terrorism since 9/11. Of those, 67 cases have involved individuals captured overseas, according to Department of Justice data obtained by Human Rights First in a Freedom of Information Act request.
Meanwhile military commissions have convicted only 7 individuals since 9/11. Two of those convictions were recently overturned due to legal objections over the charges brought in those cases.
For more information about prosecuting terrorism cases, please see Human Rights First’s fact sheets Federal Courts Continue to Take Lead in Counterterrorism Prosecutions and Myth v. Fact: Trying Terrorism Suspects in Federal Court. For more information about Human Rights First’s plan for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, please read the organization’s blueprint How to Close Guantanamo.
To speak with Eviatar, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at 202-370-3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.