News Release

* Military Tribunals * Ashcroft’s “Voluntary” Interviews

MARJORIE COHN
An associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Cohn said today: “The new rules for military tribunals violate due process by allowing the admission of hearsay evidence that hasn’t been authenticated and providing no guidelines for sentencing. They raise serious separation of powers problems because the appellate panels are named by the president and are not judicial bodies. The U.S. has already been secretly sending prisoners to Egypt and Jordan, where torture is permissible during interrogation. A U.S. diplomat said, ‘It allows us to get information from terrorists in a way we can’t do on U.S. soil.’ But even sending them elsewhere to be tortured violates the Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. has ratified.”
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, Boyle commented today on the military tribunals: “These are still kangaroo courts that violate the terms of the Third Geneva Convention and the U.S. Geneva Convention Act.”

SUSAN AKRAM
Author of the forthcoming law review article “Race, Civil Rights, and Immigration Law After Sept. 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims,” Akram said today: “Attorney General Ashcroft’s latest pronouncement that the Department of Justice is initiating another round of ‘voluntary’ interviews, targeting another 3,000 individuals, continues administration policy that is singling out the Arab and Muslim communities for heightened scrutiny in the ‘war on terrorism.’ The policies put in place since Sept. 11 include the arrests, interrogations and detentions of well over 1,000 individuals; the mass arrests of nonimmigrant students; the ‘voluntary’ interviews of 5,000 men; and the roundup of 6,000 individuals who have outstanding deportation orders…. The latest actions, coupled with sweeping new provisions in the USA Patriot Act … create an atmosphere of suspicion and intolerance towards the Arab/Muslim communities…. Among the most problematic measures is the revival of racial profiling, which had largely been discredited by the courts when applied to African-American and other communities before Sept. 11. The policies also raise very serious First Amendment issues, as all the measures are designed or implemented in a way that chills the speech and association rights of Arabs and Muslims, and deprives the rest of the American public of the discourse of these additional viewpoints, particularly on issues relating to the Middle East. Provisions in the Patriot Act, along with these targeted actions, also revive the discredited notion that an individual can be deported or denied entry solely because her views are unpopular with the U.S. government.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167