Presumption Of Guilt:

Human Rights Abuses Of Post-September 11 Detainees

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On September 11, 2001, hijackers turned four airplanes into instruments of terror. Their horrific crime left some 3,000 dead, devastated the lives of many thousands more, destroyed the World Trade Center, and created a sense of urgency about protecting the United States from future terrorists attacks. September 11 was not just an assault, however, on lives and buildings. It was also, as United States President George W. Bush pointed out, an attack on the fundamental freedoms on which the U.S. was founded.Unfortunately, the fight against terrorism launched by the United States after September 11 did not include a vigorous affirmation of those freedoms. Instead, the country has witnessed a persistent, deliberate, and unwarranted erosion of basic rights against abusive governmental power that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law. Most of those directly affected have been non-U.S. citizens. Under Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Department of Justice has subjected them to arbitrary detention, violated due process in legal proceedings against them, and run roughshod over the presumption of innocence.