Levin statement on detention of Boston bombing suspect

Saturday, April 20, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement today on the detention of the Boston bombing suspect:

"The bravery of our law enforcement personnel and first responders and the people of the Boston area yesterday and last night was inspiring, and I am deeply grateful that the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing are no longer a threat to the public.

"Some have suggested that the apprehended suspect should be held as an enemy combatant under the law of war. I am not aware of any legal basis at this point for such a designation in this case.  Under the law of war, we have the authority to detain individuals who join a hostile foreign force engaged in attacking the United States.  The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force authorizes such detention in the case of an individual who is a part of al Qaeda, the Taliban, or an associated force.

"I am not aware of any evidence so far that the Boston suspect is part of any organized group, let alone al Qaeda, the Taliban, or one of their affiliates -- the only organizations whose members are subject to detention under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, as it has been consistently interpreted by all three branches of our government. In the absence of such evidence I know of no legal basis for his detention as an enemy combatant.  To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardize our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes.

"The United States has a strong record of capturing, prosecuting and convicting dangerous terrorists in our court system. The victims of the attacks in Boston deserve to see the full force of our criminal laws brought to bear in this case, and I am hopeful and confident that it will be in our federal courts."

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