Poll: Most U.S. Voters Say Guantanamo Bay Prisoners Deserve Legal Rights

Nov 13, 2006, 00:00 ET from Kuwaiti Family Committee

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 60% of voters in the recent
 U.S. national elections believe the prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay
 should either be granted a hearing before an independent judge or be
 released to their home countries, and fewer than 20% of those polled
 believe that the detainees should be held indefinitely. These results
 reflect the post-election views of 800 actual voters surveyed immediately
 following the election by the polling company, a Washington, DC-based
 opinion-research firm.
     The poll also found that 52% of Americans believe the Military
 Commissions Act, a new law created in October that denies "enemy
 combatants" the right to challenge their imprisonment in front of an
 independent judge, is unfair. By contrast, only 36% of Americans believe
 the new law is fair. The Bush administration defines the term "enemy
 combatant" as an individual who was part of or supporting the Taliban or al
 Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against
 the United States or its coalition partners.
     In response to the poll, Khalid al-Odah, father of one of the prisoners
 and head of one of the world's leading detainee-rights groups, said he is
 encouraged by the results and urged U.S. government officials to heed the
 will of American voters.
     "I am heartened that so many Americans agree that my son and others in
 Guantanamo Bay deserve a hearing before an independent judge," said
 al-Odah, leader of the Kuwaiti Family Committee
 (http://www.kuwaitifreedom.org). He and his family haven't seen or talked
 his son, Fawzi, for five years since he was taken prisoner and sent to
 Guantanamo. "It is my sincere hope that the new leadership in Congress will
 make it a priority to right the wrongs the Bush administration has
 committed at Guantanamo Bay. The actions of this administration have
 damaged the lives of these men and their families, it has damaged the U.S.
 image as a beacon of human rights, and most importantly, it has damaged
 Americans' faith in their legal system. It's time for America to start
 trusting its judicial system again."
     The Kuwaiti Family Committee is sending results of the poll to every
 member of the U.S. House and Senate, including those newly elected.
     This press release is distributed by Levick Strategic Communications on
 behalf of the International Counsel Bureau. Additional information is
 available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE Kuwaiti Family Committee