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USA: 'appalled, but not surprised' reaction to passage of bill allowing indefinite detention

Following the passage in the US House of Representatives, the expected passage in the US Senate, and President Obama’s reported decision not to veto the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA), Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA’S policy director (counter) terrorism and human rights, issued the following statement:

"The NDAA enshrines the war paradigm that has eroded the United States’ human rights record and served it so poorly over the past decade as the country’s primary counterterrorism tool.

“In doing so, the NDAA provides a framework for 'normalising' indefinite detention and making Guantánamo a permanent feature of American life.

"This legislation establishes a two-track system of justice by distinguishing between US persons (citizens and resident aliens) and foreign nationals - a betrayal of the most fundamental principle of justice and equality before the law.

"This bill also creates a tangle of competing counterterrorism jurisdictions that no one in Washington seems to understand. Law enforcement agencies have a strong record countering terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and this new legislation will inevitably hobble their efforts.

"By withdrawing his threat to veto the NDAA, President Obama has abandoned yet another principled position with little or nothing to show for it. Amnesty International is appalled - but regrettably not surprised."

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