- For Immediate Release & Distribution -

PRESS CONFERENCE: Civil Rights, Interfaith Leaders to Condemn Controversial Senate Bill

National Defense Authorization Act allows indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens without trial

(CHICAGO, 12/7/2011) — On Thursday, December 8, the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), along with other civil rights and interfaith groups, will hold a press conference calling on Congress and President Obama to reject the U.S. Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867).

Last Thursday, the Senate passed the bill which authorizes the U.S. military to arrest American citizens suspected of terrorism without charge or trial, detaining them for an indefinite length of time. The act must now be reconciled with a similar House version of the bill, which prevents the transfer of military detainees back to civilian courts.

Last week CAIR-Chicago sent out an Action Alert calling on its constituents to contact Congressmen to have the controversial provisions removed, and to contact President Obama demanding he veto the bill, as he promised, if the provisions are not removed.

SEE ACTION ALERT: Contact Senators, President Obama and Demand They Reject Detaining U.S. Citizens Without Charge or Trial

WHAT: Press Conference on S. 1867 and indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens
WHEN: Thursday, December 8, 11:00AM
WHERE: CAIR-Chicago Gallery, 28 E. Jackson Blvd, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60604
WHO: CAIR-Chicago, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Chicago Chapter

“The passage of S. 1867 marks the first time since the McCarthy era that Congress has authorized the government to indefinitely imprison U.S. citizens, without any due process of law,” said CAIR-Chicago Litigation Director, Kevin Vodak. “The language of the provisions encourages a targeted attack on Muslim Americans. Even former members of the Bush Administration have acknowledged the error in conducting a round-up of Arabs and Muslims immediately after September 11th. A decade of progress mandates that President Obama veto these draconian measures.”

“The lessons from the tragic and unjust internment of Japanese Americans during World War II when they were subjected to indefinite detention must apply today. Indefinite detentions based on fear where individuals are neither charged nor fairly tried offend our most fundamental values of due process,” said Bill Yoshino, Midwest Director of the Japanese American Citizens League.

A final version of the bill could be ready for Senate and House approval within the next two weeks. However, the president has threatened to veto the bill if the two provisions are not removed, citing serious legal and policy concerns.

SEE: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Sections 1031 and 1032)

In a recent memo to the Senate, the Obama Administration asserted that, “applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”

SEE: White House Memorandum Denouncing Indefinite Detention of American Citizens

 

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CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to defend civil rights, fight bigotry, and promote tolerance.

CONTACT:
CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, arehab@cair.com; 312.212.1520
CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator, Amina Sharif, asharif@cair.com, 312.212.1520

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