Vitter on Terror Trials: WH Needs to be More Clear

March 10, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sens. David Vitter made the following statement in reaction to news reports regarding President Obama’s announcement that the “U.S. would resume the military tribunals for Guantanamo terrorists that he unilaterally suspended two years ago, and he may even begin referring new charges to military commissions within days or weeks.”

“This is an encouraging move in the right direction if the White House is serious about refocusing our efforts to try these terrorists in military commissions, where they belong,” said Vitter. “I am concerned, however, that the White House is indicating that it will still attempt to try major terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as ordinary criminals in civilian courts. This is a non-starter – the House CR prohibits funding for such trials – and I will continue to advocate in the Senate to defund any such civil trials on American soil.”

Last Congress, Vitter introduced
legislation that prevented suspected terrorists and enemy combatants at Guantanamo
Bay from being tried in U.S criminal courts instead of military tribunals. Last
year, he also joined 18 of his colleagues in a letter to President Obama expressing concern about his administration’s decision to prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man who attempted to detonate a bomb aboard an American airliner on Christmas Day 2009, in a U.S. criminal court.

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