Human rights attorney calls on Senate to nix indefinite detention provision

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 23:58 EDT
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Raha Wala, an attorney with Human Rights First, said Wednesday that the Senate should take up eliminating legislation regarding new rules for detaining terrorist suspects as its first order of business.

A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Senate is debating this week, would authorize the military to indefinitely detain individuals anywhere in the world — including U.S. citizens — without charge or trial.

“It’s just broad drafting,” Wala explained on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. “That’s the problem here and that’s why it includes the citizenship problem. But it’s broader than that. Here is what the legislation says: If you are suspected of being a member of al Qaeda, the Taliban or a quote unquote associated force — whatever that means — you can be held indefinitely without trial, whether you’re an American citizen or not, whether you’re captured within the United States or not.”

“And it goes further than that. What it says is if you’re suspected of supporting the al Qaeda or the Taliban, you can also be held,” he continued.

“And if you didn’t think the legislation could get worse, it actually does. What it says is if you’re actually accused of being an al Qaeda member and plotting an attack against the United States, you must be held in military custody — its not an option anymore.”

An amendment to the legislation proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Udall would have replaced the rules and allowed intelligence officials to offer their own plan. But the amendment was rejected by a 37 to 61 vote Tuesday. Mark Kirk (IL) and Rand Paul (KY) were the only Republican senators to vote for it.

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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