Terrorism Trial Critics Increasingly Vocal
November 20, 2009 by Special To Personal Liberty
In the wake of the White House decision to transfer five individuals to New York for trial who are accused of 9/11 attacks, media reports have documented escalating criticism which cuts across party lines.
While most of the initial concerns centered on the issue of national security, recent objections have also included the constitutional rights of the alleged terrorists. For example, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, stated that trying the accused in a civilian court will expand their constitutional rights and may result in more lenient sentences than in a military court.
"The administration should not prioritize the rights of terrorists over the rights of Americans to be safe and secure," he added.
Critics have also voiced their opinion on the Democratic side, with Senator Jim Webb of Virginia pointing to the potential disruption and high costs associated with conducting the trail on U.S. soil.
However, the Obama administration’s decision was praised by civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, whose executive director Anthony Romero called it "a huge victory" for the rule of law.
"It would have been an enormous blow to American values if we had tried these defendants in a process riddled with legal problems," he added.
Five Guantanamo prisoners accused on planning the terrorist attacks will stand trial in a civilian court in New York just blocks away from "ground zero."