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Thursday, April 1 2010 - Legal Response to 9/11
9/11 Mother Demands Obama Try Terrorist Plotters In Civilian Court
In anticipation of a final announcement as to the trial venue for the 9/11 plotters, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is warning the president against "buckling to political pressure," calling the use of military tribunals the "wrong thing to do."
In a nearly four-minute long video, Donna Marsh O'Connor -- a Peaceful Tomorrows member who lost her pregnant daughter when the Twin Towers collapsed -- speaks both to the broad notion that America has a "historic commitment to justice" and, more narrowly, to the horse-trading politics that now surround terrorist trials. Reflecting disappointment with recent signals from the White House, O'Connor calls specifically for the president to reject a reported compromise proposal with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in which the administration would drop plans for civilian trials in exchange for Republican support for the closure of Gitmo.
"As 9/11 families, we have suffered greatly and waited almost nine years to see justice done with our own eyes," O'Connor says. "We understand that you face political pressure to back down. We ask that you do not allow fear and prejudice to govern your decision as we are not afraid. We know our country is strong enough to hold on to our values in the face of terrorism."
The video follows other efforts from Peaceful Tomorrows to advocate for civilian trials for the 9/11 suspects.
Letter to President Obama Urging Trials in Civilian Courts for 9/11
On February 18, September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows sent a letter to President Obama urging him to try the 9/11 defendants in civilian courts. The full text of the letter follows:
Dear President Obama,
It has been over three years since the American people issued their mandate. By electing Democrats to Congress, we demanded very clearly that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end and that our tax dollars get allocated more reasonably.
It has been almost nine years since our foreign and domestic policies have been hijacked by the Bush administration, that our rule of law, our constitution, and our moral and ethical principles have been overturned and ignored.
You promised change.
We have seen no change.
On June 16th, 2009 several members of September 11th for Peaceful Tomorrows attended a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder and the members of the two task forces established to close Guantanamo Bay to listen to the very precise plans to close this facility. We asked then very clearly, "Will you close Guantanamo Bay or will you study the possible closing?"
Attorney General Holder answered, "It will be closed."
It is important for you to know that there is now, has been since February of 2002, and will continue to be, a group of 9/11 family members who support your administration in any and all efforts to give America and the world the change you promised--a return to our American way of life, our rule of law and respect for and reliance upon our constitution. The change we want is a change back to reason.
We believe that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the four detainees who will be tried with him must be tried in civilian courts. We believe that where in our country these trials are held is irrelevant, as long as they occur on our soil where the crimes were committed, where the people who deserve transparent government once again have it.
Our daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives who worked in or rushed in to save others in the World Trade Center and died there, and those in the Pentagon, and those on the planes: passengers and pilots and crew members, all loved our country. In their names we ask that you honor and preserve our constitution and our rule of law.
You, Mr. President, must not be afraid. Don't disappoint us again. No matter the political blow back from those who want to protect their bad policies, we implore you, keep this promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
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