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Obama lifts suspension on military terror trials at Guantánamo Bay
Tuesday 8 March 2011
Move marks departure from election promise to close camp and use civilian law to fight terrorism
Monday 7 March 2011/]
Barack Obama has given the green light to resume military trials of terror suspects detained at Guantánamo Bay, making a sharp departure from his election promises to close the camp and bring America’s fight against terrorism back into the remit of civilian law.
The US president lifted a suspension on so-called "military commissions" which he had imposed on his first full day in the White House. By so doing, he permitted the revival of trials conducted by military officers, with a military judge presiding.
Some relatives of victims of the September 2001 attacks said that they were also disappointed by the resumption of military trials. Colleen Kelly, whose brother Bill Kelly Jr died in the Twin Towers on 9/11, said that she knew all too well how important it was to protect all people, not just Americans, from the threat of terrorism.
"There are some seriously dangerous people being held in Guantánamo Bay, I think the world understands that.
"But I think there’s also a huge opportunity here being missed to show the world that not only does the US talk the talk, we walk the walk also." She said that the past nine years since 9/11 showed that the criminal system of justice had proven to be fully robust enough to deal with difficult terrorism cases. "There have been more than 170 successful anti-terror prosecutions in civilian courts since 9/11, which to me suggests they work."