On Abandoning NYC as the Venue for the Trial of KSM and the Four Other 9/11 Defendants

February 2nd, 2010

Statement from September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

On June 16th, 2009, members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows went to the Department of Justice and listened with hope to Attorney General Holder’s plans to close Guantanamo Bay prison and, in so doing, end many of the troubling legal practices instituted by the Bush administration, practices that overturned our constitution and our rule of law. We supported Holder’s decision to try KSM and the four other defendants accused of carrying out the 9/11 attacks in federal court in New York City.

At that meeting we asked concretely and clearly: do you mean to close the Guantanamo facility? AG Holder said, “Yes.”

In the months following that meeting we have watched as the Obama administration doubled back on many of the promises it made to the American people. And now, we learn that the trials will not happen in New York City.

We want to be clear, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows has no interest in determining where federal trials are held. We will, however, support with vigor all efforts by the Obama administration to end military commissions, to convene federal trials, and to restore the rule of law in America. We specifically believe that everyone who is currently detained at Guantanamo should either be charged with a crime and tried in federal court or released. Under no circumstances do we believe that a policy of indefinite detention for anyone constitutes justice for the loved ones we have lost.

We are troubled that the Obama administration has not been able to deliver on its promises and that voices of hysteria and fear are shaping our judicial policies. We, too, hear the fear mongering, but we remain unafraid.

In the final analysis, our families paid the ultimate price. We lost loved ones to a horrific act of violence. We prefer not to lose the fabric of our nation, as well, to the fear generated by those who prefer retribution and revenge to truth and justice.

Filed in: Guantanamo & Military Commissions, Rule of Law: Guantanamo and Civil Liberties

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