The Associated Press reports:
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the prosecution of terrorism suspects in civilian court after the top-ranking Senate Republican urged him to send two Iraqis to Guantanamo Bay rather than try them in Kentucky.
Holder criticized what he called a “rigid ideology” among political opponents working to prevent terror trials that have been successfully handled by civilian courts hundreds of times.
“Politics has no place — no place — in the impartial and effective administration of justice,” Holder said in remarks prepared for delivery to the American Constitution Society’s convention. “Decisions about how, where, and when to prosecute must be made by prosecutors, not politicians.”
Although Holder didn’t mention Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by name, his comments come two days after McConnell took to the Senate floor and urged Holder’s Justice Department to send terrorism suspects Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi to Navy-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said a trial planned in his home state of Kentucky could risk retaliatory attacks against judges, jurors and the broader community.
The Justice Department says there have been more than 400 convictions of terrorism-related charges in civilian courts.
“Not one of these individuals has escaped custody,” Holder said. “Not one of the judicial districts involved has suffered retaliatory attacks. And not one of these terrorists arrested on American soil has been tried by a military commission.”