Obama Continues Use of Renditions in Fight Against Terror

Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013 02:54 PM

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The lack of options for detaining and dealing with suspects in overseas terror cases has found the Obama administration continuing renditions and interrogations on foreign soil before bringing suspects to the U.S. for trial.

Most recently, the ongoing practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process, was brought to light when three men with Somali roots were picked up in Djibouti, interrogated and then brought to trial in New York after being held for two months, reported the Washington Post.

“In a way, rendition has become even more important than before,” said Clara Gutteridge, director of the human rights group Equal Justice Forum, which opposes the practice.

In 2007, Obama said in opposition to the practice that renditions and rough interrogations did not "reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people."

“This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law," he said

In the opening months of his first term, Obama issued an executive order outlawing waterboarding and other methods of rough interrogation. A task force recommended that while renditions not stop, increased oversight was needed to be sure that reportedly harsh questioning techniques were no longer being used.

The three suspects in Djibouti were thought to be connected to al-Shabab, an Islamist militia based in Somalia. The group, according to the Post, has enforced harsh Islamist law in the country, and participated in attacks in East Africa, Kenya, and Uganda.

The U.S. has spent more than $500 million since 2007 working with countries surrounding Somalia to at least stop terror attacks and human rights abuse there.

Once picked up, the suspects were brought to Djibouti, which has allowed the U.S. to bring foreign suspects there for more than a decade and is home to a large U.S. military base where many drone flights and anti-terror missions in the region are launched from.

The men were later indicted by a federal grand jury and brought to the U.S. for trial.

“Let’s just put it this way: They were sojourning in Djibouti, and all of a sudden, after they met their friendly FBI agents and CIA agents — who didn’t identify themselves — my client found himself stateless and in a U.S. court,” said Harry Batchelder, an attorney for one of the suspects.

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