Liberty and the American Civil Liberties Union build “new special relationship”

27 January 2009

The two leading transatlantic civil liberties groups also emphasised the importance of expressing international support for the Obama administration’s impressive first steps in this direction and encouraging the new president to reject any form of indefinite detention or extraordinary rendition.

Anthony Romero, Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union, said;

“As a result of the Bush administration’s unlawful national security policies, the public image of the United States has been greatly diminished in the global community. The US and the UK have an historically special relationship and now is a perfect time for the two countries to work together to ensure that the US takes full and complete measures to restore the liberties that have been eroded over the last eight years.”

Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said:

“Liberty and the ACLU were founded during the last depression and have witnessed the rise and fall of rights and freedoms on both sides of the Atlantic. We weathered the misjudged “War on Terror” together and will now work harder than ever in support of the new President’s rejection of the false choice between our safety and our ideals.”

On Monday, Anthony Romero and Shami Chakrabarti addressed a parliamentary meeting well-attended by Peers and MPs from across the political spectrum. While welcoming the Obama administration’s positive first actions, Romero urged caution over ambiguities in the executive orders regarding the prosecution of Guantanamo detainees and the international crime of extraordinary rendition.

Contact: Mairi Clare Rodgers on 0207 378 3656 or 07973 831128

Notes to editors

1. The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and works through the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and laws of the United States.

2. Shami Chakrabarti and Anthony Romero both started at their respective organisations just before the September 11th attacks. They have since worked together on joint issues, including extraordinary rendition flights.