July 7, 2011
The Obama administration approved the secret detention of a Somali terror suspect on board a US navy ship, where for two months he was subjected to military interrogation in the absence of a lawyer and without charge.
The capture and treatment of Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame has rekindled the debate within the US about the appropriate handling of terror suspects. Republicans in Congress have objected to Warsame being brought to New York this week to be tried in a criminal court – an attempt by the Obama administration to avoid sending the prisoner to*Guantánamo Bay, which it has promised to close.
From the opposite viewpoint, civil rights groups have objected to the secret questioning of Warsame on board a navy vessel, an innovation that they fear could see a new form of the CIA’s widely discredited “black site” detention centres around the world.
There is some evidence that the US government is turning to detention at sea as a way of avoiding legal and political impediments in the treatment of terror suspects, both domestically and on the international stage.
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