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Attorney General Holder defends terrorism trial plans


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the Obama administration's use of criminal courts to try terrorism suspects after a renewed call to send them to military trials at the naval base in Cuba.

Republicans and even some of President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats have sought to keep open the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and forced the administration to use military courts for the most significant terrorism suspects, those accused of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Holder offered a rebuttal backing traditional criminal trials for terrorism suspects, describing the backlash as "overheated rhetoric that is detached from history and from the facts."

Those who back military trials for terrorism suspects have argued that the accused should not receive full U.S. legal rights and the cities where such trials are held could become targets for attacks, pointing to Guantanamo as the best venue.

"Not one of these individuals has escaped custody. Not one of the judicial districts involved has suffered retaliatory attacks. And not one of these terrorists arrested on American soil has been tried by a military commission," Holder told the American Constitution Society, a liberal-leaning group.

A year ago before a similar audience Holder was defending both military and civilian courts for such cases.snip
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