Clinton: ‘Vast majority’ of detainees should get civilian trials

By David Edwards
Sunday, November 21, 2010 11:06 EDT
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that civilian trials work better than military commission for convicting terrorism detainees.

“We do believe that what are called Article Three trials, in other words in our civilian courts, are appropriate for the vast majority of detainees,” Clinton told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

This week, a civilian trial convicted Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani on one count and acquitted him of more than 280 other counts.

“The question is do you have any choice now except to hold all of the terror detainees at Gitmo or either give them military trials or hold them indefinitely?” Wallace asked Clinton.

“The sentence for what he was convicted of is 20 years to life,” Clinton replied. “That is a significant sentence. Secondly, some of the challenges in the courtroom would be the very same challenges before a military commission about whether or not certain evidence could be used.”

“If you look at the comparison between terrorists who are now serving time in our maximum security prisons compared to what military commissions have been able to do, there’s no comparison,” Clinton later said on NBC.

“We get convictions, we send people away in our civilian courts at a much more regularized … and predictable way than yet we’ve been able to figure out how in the military commission.”

“It is good enough and strong enough to either convict and sentence the guilty, or even execute where appropriate, and where you can’t convince an American jury, which is certainly obsessed with terrorism, maybe there’s a question about the strength of the case,” she said.

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Nov. 21, 2010.

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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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