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True justice for terrorists

Anthony Matthew Durkin | Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christie Pesavento’s Nov. 17 column “Taking terrorists at their word” is another absurd lash by the right wing in an attempt to smear the Obama administration. To suggest that the Obama administration is not taking the threat of terrorism seriously is an enormous misunderstanding of the Obama administration’s commitment to the principles this nation was founded upon.

My father, Thomas Anthony Durkin, has been working with the American Civil Liberties Union as civilian council for one of the five co-conspirators of the 9/11 terror plot currently held at Guantanamo Bay. He has been appointed to Ramzi Binalshibh, famously known as one of the alleged 20 highjackers. This man has endured years of torture and it has yet to be determined if he is competent to stand trial. Since Pesavento objects to Attorney General Holder’s decision to try these men in federal court, I assume she believes that these men must be tried in the farce of a legal system convened under George Bush called the “Military Commissions.” In this military court, defendants are prohibited from seeing the evidence incriminating them. Any sort of evidence brought about through torture and hearsay is legitimate. And prior to 2008, defendants did not have the right to habeas corpus, meaning our government was able to hold what they call “unlawful alien combatants” for as long as they please without offering any explanation. Luckily, we live in a country which has an established judiciary system.

Obama and Holder’s decision to bring these defendants to a federal court is a testament to the administration’s commitment to the Constitution and human rights. So what if these five men are tried in a federal court? The Justice Department has enough evidence to convict these men, and justice will be served. By electing to try these men in a federal court, the U.S. continues to improve its international legitimacy that was severely damaged under the Bush administration. Finally, I admire my father and others for standing up to the Constitutional and human rights abuses of the Bush administration, and ensuring that legitimate justice is brought to these terrorists.


Anthony Matthew Durkin


off campus

Nov. 17