Sunday, November 29, 2009

Slow Closure for Prisons That Detain Suspected Terrorists

Despite President Obama’s commitment to close prisons holding detainees suspected to be terrorists, the closure of such facilities is coming along quite slowly. Under the Bush Administration, detaining suspected terrorists without charges was par for the course. The hope was that under an Obama Administration, these facilities would be expeditiously closed. But, closures have been slow coming.

The closures were hoped to end the practices that violated the international standards of human rights and much of what the US stands for as a land of freedom and due process of law. The torture and abuse of prisons in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was well documented. Also infamous was the practice of “outsourcing” detention and torture known as extraordinary rendition. But lesser known cases of abuse and torture occurred in other military detention facilities such as Camp Bucca in Iraq, which finally closed in September 2009.

Still, other detention facilities remain open. One of the unresolved issues involves where to move the most dangerous of the suspects.

Granted, individuals suspected of being terrorists or plotting acts of terrorism, or supporting known terrorists, should be detained. It’s the practice of rounding up anyone who might be a terrorist that violates the spirit of law and due process.

As long as America still operates these facilities, we are not the nation founded on basic human rights that we proclaim to be.

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