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Leaders call for presidential commission on detainees

February 23, 2009 by  

Leaders across the social spectrum have called on President Obama to create a commission to investigate the treatment of detainees after the 9/11 attacksPolitical and community leaders have called on President Obama to create a commission to investigate the detention, treatment and transfer of detainees during George W. Bush’s administration.

The advocates of the proposal include Thomas Pickering, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, Judge William Sessions, former director of the FBI and Rev. Dr. John H. Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ.

"We urge President Obama to appoint a non-partisan commission of distinguished Americans to examine, and provide a comprehensive report on, policies and actions related to the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees after 9/11 and the consequences of those actions, and to make recommendations for future policy in this area," they said in a statement.

Judge William Session commented that there are still many unanswered questions regarding whether the treatment of detainees following the 9/11 terrorist attacks were "in the country’s best interest."

President Obama signed an executive order in January to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and to ban harsh interrogation techniques.

Since then, a coalition of human rights groups has written to the president to request access to Guantanamo to review the conditions of confinement and make recommendations for revising U.S. policies.

And the American Civil Liberties Union petitioned the Justice Department to release the memos that provided the legal basis for the former administration’s controversial national security policies.
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