NEW YORK (AP) -- The National Council of Churches criticized the Bush administration's prolonged detention of hundreds of mostly Middle Eastern men as part of the terrorism investigation.
The council, which represents 36 Protestant and Orthodox denominations, said in a Dec. 20 statement that it supports a civil rights suit demanding the federal government release names of those arrested and the charges they face.
The council condemned the use of military tribunals, saying they ''have the potential to undermine legal rights under our Constitution.''
Attorney General John Ashcroft has defended the administration's approach as necessary to fight terrorism. He has accused his critics of giving ''ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends.''
The NCC contends, ''Our nation should model the rights and behaviors that we would hope to see throughout the world. If it does not, we should speak up loudly and clearly and say so.''
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