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Trump’s Guantanamo comments undermine the rule of law

The senseless violence we’ve seen on the streets of New York is designed to terrorize and provoke. In these moments our elected representatives are put to the test – and President Trump is failing badly.

His knee-jerk threat to send the suspect to Guantánamo and his running commentary since reveal he knows little about the American justice system. This is not how matters of national security or justice should be handled in a country founded on the rule of law.

President Trump’s comments came on the same day as the detention of Brigadier General John Baker, the second highest ranking lawyer in the Marine Corps and the chief defense counsel of the Guantánamo military commission system. He himself was detained in Guantánamo for standing up for three American lawyers who refused to continue representing a Guantánamo client after their client’s right to privileged communications with his lawyers was violated by yet another bought of government spying. General Baker was sentenced to 21 days confinement (thankfully to his quarters rather than the prison at GTMO) without being allowed any opportunity to defend himself.

These events show Guantánamo for the chaotic legal black hole that it is. The facility is mired in Government misconduct and continues to cost US taxpayers over $10 million per detainee per year.

Sending more prisoners to Guantanamo would be a national security disaster. Justice for all parties is best served by trying suspects in criminal courts in America, as has been done for over 600 terrorism defendants to date, and closing Guantánamo Bay forever.

Shelby Sullivan-Bennis

Author Shelby Sullivan-Bennis

Shelby is a Staff Attorney working on abuses in counter-terrorism at Reprieve U.S. She represents several prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and victims of America’s targeted killing program.

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