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NCC expresses its abhorrence of secret prisons
and says al-Qaeda prisoners must be brought to trial

New York, September 7, 2006 – The National Council of Churches USA today reaffirmed its abhorrence of secret prisons operated by the United States and called upon the government to bring American prisoners to trial.

Yesterday, President Bush admitted the existence of secret American prisons for al-Qaeda and other enemies of the U.S., and announced that 14 al-Qaeda suspects were being moved to the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to face military tribunals.

Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that the government does not have sufficient authority to use such tribunals in lieu of the courts, and President Bush called upon Congress to pass legislation creating such authority. The NCC, which said it was in favor of bringing prisoners to trial, called upon the Congress to study the matter carefully and act “prudently.”

The National Council of Churches has issued several statements and resolutions on the Guantánamo detentions and the use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere. The following is a partial list of NCC statements since January 2003:

January 14, 2003 – NCC files a “Friend of the Court Brief” challenging legality of Guantánamo detentions

January 21, 2004 – State Department denies ecumenical request to send a delegation to Guantánamo

February 23, 2004 – NCC Board resolution on the detainees at Guantánamo

March 1, 2004 – Guantánamo families and religious leaders call for humane treatment of Guantánamo prisoners

March 8, 2004 NCC calls for “respect for God-given human dignity” of Guantánamo prisoners

March 8, 2004 –
Text of NCC statement on “due process” for Guantánamo prisoners

March 8, 2004 – Photos of March 8 “due process” rally in Washington

March 11, 2004 – Upon the release of five Guantánamo prisoners, NCC renews call for due process

June 28, 2004 – NCC welcomes Supreme Court rulings affirming due process

November 1, 2004 – The U.S. should accept responsibility for the Uighur Chinese Muslims it is holding at the Guantánamo Bay naval base, NCC says

November 9, 2005 – NCC General Assembly declares “any and all use of torture” unacceptable

November 9, 2005 – NCC General Assembly resolution on threats to civil and religious liberties in post-9/11 America

December 16, 2005 – NCC praises Bush, McCain, on disavowal of torture

February 16, 2006 – NCC calls for the closing of Guantánamo and renews its request to visit prisoners

March 8, 2006 – NCC welcomes the closing of Abu Ghraib prison

May 15, 2006 – Faith leaders call for the elimination of torture as policy

June 11, 2006 – Suicides at Guantánamo prompt NCC to renew its call to close the facility

June 29, 2006 – NCC welcomes U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting military tribunals at Guantánamo



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