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Nutmeggers Oppose Detention without Trial

February 20, 2012

BERLIN, Conn. - Opposition to provisions of a law signed by President Obama last New Year's Eve, the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA, brought a hundred people of many backgrounds together on Saturday, to a meeting at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford in Berlin.

One of the speakers was Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, who says that even under the most charitable reading of the law...

"The NDAA abrogates the right to trial and due process for non-citizens and for citizens apprehended outside the United States. The fact of the matter is that, even for U.S. citizens within the United States, the NDAA does, in fact, authorize detention without trial."

He says that's because it legally justifies the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan, which has already been used to arrest two American citizens on U.S. soil.

The Bill of Rights says Americans should be protected from detention without trial. However, Buttar says, in recent years, civil liberties have been under attack in the name of national security. He adds that the NDAA extends the security concerns that led to holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay,

"Beyond Guantanamo Bay into the domestic United States and across our country, from coast to coast, giving any future president the authority, essentially, to round up political opposition without allowing people a day in court to prove their innocence."

The Connecticut chapters of the ACLU and the Council on American Islamic Relations have filed a Freedom of Information Act request for information from the police departments of Stamford, Waterbury and Bridgeport, according to Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut:

"To ask them for records relating to cooperation with the NYPD with respect to surveillance of the Muslim community."

A Pakistani-American from Shelton, Connecticut, was arrested in 2010 for the attempted bombing of Times Square. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT