WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs Network — Nearly 60% of voters in the recent U.S. national elections believe the prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay should either be granted a hearing before an independent judge or be released to their home countries, and fewer than 20% of those polled believe that the detainees should be held indefinitely. These results reflect the post-election views of 800 actual voters surveyed immediately following the election by the polling company, a Washington, DC-based opinion-research firm.
The poll also found that 52% of Americans believe the Military Commissions Act, a new law created in October that denies “enemy combatants” the right to challenge their imprisonment in front of an independent judge, is unfair. By contrast, only 36% of Americans believe the new law is fair. The Bush administration defines the term “enemy combatant” as an individual who was part of or supporting the Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.
In response to the poll, Khalid al-Odah, father of one of the prisoners and head of one of the world’s leading detainee-rights groups, said he is encouraged by the results and urged U.S. government officials to heed the will of American voters.
“I am heartened that so many Americans agree that my son and others in Guantanamo Bay deserve a hearing before an independent judge,” said al-Odah, leader of the Kuwaiti Family Committee (http://www.kuwaitifreedom.org/). He and his family haven’t seen or talked his son, Fawzi, for five years since he was taken prisoner and sent to Guantanamo. “It is my sincere hope that the new leadership in Congress will make it a priority to right the wrongs the Bush administration has committed at Guantanamo Bay. The actions of this administration have damaged the lives of these men and their families, it has damaged the U.S. image as a beacon of human rights, and most importantly, it has damaged Americans’ faith in their legal system. It’s time for America to start trusting its judicial system again.”
The Kuwaiti Family Committee is sending results of the poll to every member of the U.S. House and Senate, including those newly elected.
This press release is distributed by Levick Strategic Communications on behalf of the International Counsel Bureau. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.