Saturday, May 16, 2009
Questions About Terror Suspect Detention Policies As Gitmo Prisoner Is Freed
Released from Gitmo
A Guantanamo Bay detainee who was being held since 2001 on suspicion that he participated in a plot to blow up a U.S. Embassy is starting a new life as a free man in France.
Lakhdar Boumediene is from Algiers. But France has agreed to take him because he has relatives there.
He and four others who have been held there because the government believed they had planned to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia had been ordered released by a federal judge for lack of evidence.
His case goes right to the heart of the issue over the holding of suspected terrorists off of U.S. soil. Should the government continue to keep them detained because it fears that, if released, they will return to participate in terrorist activities against the United States or others? Or should they be permitted to go free because it can't be proven in a court of law that they actually are terrorists?
If the latter, does that mean there are innocent people who are being held in questionable conditions? And, if so, are those who were previously not extremists going to be so enraged upon their release that they then join the ranks of al Qadea to seek revenge?
All of this points to the need to be certain before the extra judicial incarceration of people that you aren't making a mistake. And the need for a process to adjudicate their cases promptly.
The issue of the treatment of prisoners also needs to be further discussed, especially in light of the current debate about the Bush administration's interrogation techniques. Are there people in U.S. custody who have been subjected to extraordinary interrogation techniques who are innocent?
These questions are difficult ones. But, if the United States is to be a beacon of freedom and rights - including human rights - they need to answered.