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Beverly Eckert

9/11 Victims’ Families Challenge Legitimacy Of Guantánamo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
(212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org
December 10, 2008

NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union today released a statement from 31 9/11 victims’ family members challenging the legitimacy of the Guantánamo military commissions and their ability to achieve justice.

Below is the full text of the statement:

9/11 FAMILY MEMBERS CHALLENGE LEGITIMACY OF GUANTÁNAMO MILITARY COMMISSIONS

As family members who lost loved ones on 9/11, we feel compelled to speak out about this week’s proceedings at Guantánamo. Recently, the Guantánamo military commissions office announced that victims’ family members would be permitted, on a lottery basis, to attend the Guantánamo legal hearings of those accused of planning the 9/11 attacks. The lottery system inherently results in the granting of media attention to the select few who are chosen, and whose views are not necessarily representative of all victims’ families. The media coverage of Monday’s commission hearings included statements attributed to attending family members that the tribunals provided a fair hearing for these prosecutions and that family members “were struck by the extensive rights accorded the accused men.”

While we support everyone’s right to their individual opinions about these proceedings, including, of course, other family members who have suffered the devastation we have, we also feel obliged to make clear that many of us do not believe these military commissions to be fair, in accordance with American values, or capable of achieving the justice that 9/11 family members and all Americans deserve.

We believe that the secretive and unconstitutional… Continue reading

Beverly Eckert

by Nicholas Levis

Today brings the sad news that Beverly Eckert died in the crash of Flight 3407 on her way to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her late husband Sean Rooney’s 58th birthday. She had planned to take part in a presentation at Canisius High School of a scholarship award that she established in Sean Rooney’s honor. Among the family members surviving her was her sister, Sue Borque, who told the Buffalo News that while the family had not yet received official confirmation of her sister’s fate, the reality was settling in. “We know she was on that plane,” Bourque said, “and now she’s with [Sean].” Her husband of 34 years, Sean Rooney had been killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th, 2001.

http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/578061.html

Beverly Eckert devoted her life to serving others. I met this strong-willed and sensitive woman on a single occasion, in March 2004 when she welcomed me to her home in Connecticut for a few hours to conduct an interview about her advocacy work following September 11th. An insurance manager by profession, Eckert told the story of how she responded to the loss of her husband and the horror of the events. Hers was a beautiful and powerful voice and she speaks best on her own behalf:

“I guess I wish I wasn’t here, because it was such a different life before September 11th. I never envisioned myself speaking to the public having to say… Continue reading