For Quick and Strong Justice, Look to the Courts—Not Guantanamo

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Photo: U.S. Department of Defense
Media Outlet: Just Security

Joshua Geltzer wrote for Just Security on why transferring the man accused of carrying out the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan on October 31 to Guantánamo is a bad idea:

On Wednesday, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain reignited a seemingly settled debate by urging that Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in Tuesday’s horrific terrorist attack in downtown Manhattan, be transferred to Guantanamo Bay.  President Trump also said he was considering the option.  This would be novel even for the turbulent world of Guantanamo: Sending a legal permanent resident detained on U.S. soil to Guantanamo would be a first, as would sending there anyone detained for his association with ISIS, rather than al-Qa’ida or the Taliban.
It now appears that, thankfully, Guantanamo is not the direction in which Saipov’s case is headed.  Late on Wednesday, Senator Lindsey Graham said that Trump will not be declaring Saipov an enemy combatant, a first step toward sending him to Guantanamo; and, even more to the point, on Wednesday federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Saipov in federal district court.  President Trump this morning affirmed that Saipov will be tried in the federal system.  This is the right way to go; and we applaud the government for taking this path.  That’s because, even leaving to the side broader questions about Guantanamo, for anyone who really wants the “quick justice and . . . strong justice” that Trump said he craves, the place to look is a federal courtroom.

Author:

Joshua Geltzer is an ASU Future of War Fellow at New America. He is writing a book exploring challenges associated with modern communications technologies such as social media platforms, file-upload sites, and internet search engines.