The president of the American Bar Association sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. today praising the decision to pursue federal court prosecutions of five Guantanamo detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 attacks.
The Nov. 25 letter, signed by ABA President Carolyn Lamm, comes after Holder became the target of criticism from conservative politicians for his decision to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others in New York.
The letter calls the military commissions before which the detainees were originally charged “constitutionally flawed” and lauds the U.S. court system as “well-equipped to handle trials of this magnitude.”
“[N]o matter how heinous the charges, the long awaited trials of these alleged terrorists must be both fair and perceived as fair, or the resulting verdicts will not be recognized as legitimate,” the letter reads. “The accused must receive the competent assistance of counsel, be afforded due process, and treated as innocent until proven guilty.”
Lamm was not immediately available for comment.
The ABA posted the letter in its entirety on its Web site.