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Justice Department Adheres To Key Elements Of Bush Administration Detention Policy


NEW YORK – In a court filing today, the Obama administration argued that detention of prisoners held at Guantánamo is justified even if the individual is captured far from any battlefield and has not directly participated in hostilities. According to the definition offered in the government’s brief, individuals who provide “substantial” support to al-Qaeda or the Taliban can be detained.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“It is deeply troubling that the Justice Department continues to use an overly broad interpretation of the laws of war that would permit military detention of individuals who were picked up far from an actual battlefield or who didn’t engage in hostilities against the United States. Once again, the Obama administration has taken a half-step in the right direction. The Justice Department’s filing leaves the door open to modifying the government’s position; it is critical that the administration promptly narrow the category for individuals who can be held in military detention so that the U.S. truly comports with the laws of war and rejects the unlawful detention power of the past eight years.”


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