Lesson from the USA: Insufficient Evidence is Sufficient


Islamic Human Rights Commission

22 MARCH 2002
Lesson from the USA: Insufficient Evidence is Sufficient

According to recent statements, US officials stated that acquitted defendants may still find themselves in detention if the USA believes that they are soldiers belonging to a terrorist group or that they pose a threat to the USA.

It appears that US officials themselves do not have faith in the military commissions in ensuring that justice is done, despite the severe relaxation of the standard of proof and rules of evidence which means that convictions can be obtained even on the basis of weak evidence.

Thus even when military commissions fail to successfully prosecute the detainee on the basis of insufficient evidence, the evidence is sufficient to continue detaining the acquitted defendant.

In essence, the USA’s presumption of guilt attitude has led it to create more and more justice systems running in parallel with each other, with the need for evidence deteriorating completely from the equation.

This approach, however, is not new on part of the USA, particularly since September 11. It has persuaded various governments around the world to arrest and detained ‘suspected terrorist’ without any evidential foundation.

One recent example is Raissi who was arrested and detained in the UK, accused of being one of the main figures behind the hijacking of the planes of September 11. He was later released because of insufficient evidence but the FBI still requested his extradition on the basis that he had falsified information on his pilots license application form, the false information being that he failed to disclose that his leg injury.

Moreover, within its own borders, the USA has detained thousands of suspected terrorists, mainly of Middle Eastern and North African origin, again in the absence of evidence. Mere suspicion is enough.

IHRC is concerned with the US nationalistic approach to human rights in that it considers some more human than others. Therefore, those captured in Afghanistan with a US passport have been recognised as more deserving of human rights.

Evidence, according to the USA is not necessary when ‘seeking justice’, a policy of racism, blind vengeance is sufficient.

For further information, please contact IHRC on (+44) 20 8902 0888, Facsimile (+44) 20 8902 0889. Email ihrc@dial.pipex.com

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