Guantánamo Dispatch

Updates and analysis from ACLU attorneys in Cuba observing the proceedings of the Guantánamo Bay military commissions.

The Machinery of Death: Witness to Al-Nashiri’s First Guantánamo Hearing

By Zachary Katznelson, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 1:25pm
Yesterday, the man accused of planning the 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing appeared before the world for the first time, nine years after his capture, at a military commission hearing at Guantánamo. I was there to observe the proceedings for the ACLU.

Still Prosecuting the Little Fish at Gitmo

By Sarah Mehta, Fellow, Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU at 9:01pm

At 5 p.m. on Friday, a jury of military officers sentenced Sudanese detainee Noor Uthman Muhammed to 14 years in prison. Shortly afterward, a military judge announced that under Muhammed's plea bargain agreement, he will serve almost three more years…

Sentencing an Al-Qaeda Lackey

By Sarah Mehta, Fellow, Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU at 1:19pm

Yesterday opened with the selection of jurors (the process called "voir dire") who will sentence Noor Uthman Muhammed, the Sudanese detainee who accepted a guilty plea Tuesday morning. Noor pleaded guilty to providing material support to…

The Victims

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 5:07pm

Yesterday was an emotional day of testimony from widow Tabitha Speer and Omar Khadr. As a reminder, on Monday, Khadr pled guilty as part of a plea agreement to all of the charges against him, including throwing a grenade that killed Sgt. Christopher…

Escape from Guantánamo by Plea Deal

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 11:22am

Yesterday, Canadian detainee Omar Khadr pled guilty to all five charges against him, in an 11th-hour plea deal that averted the scheduled resumption of his military commission trial. Imprisoned since his capture in Afghanistan at age 15, Khadr has…

Khadr Accepts Plea Deal, Trial Averted

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 3:44pm

Earlier today, Omar Khadr pled guilty to all charges against him, averting a full-blown military commissions trial that was slated to restart today. A sentencing hearing will commence tomorrow. (But like Ibrahim al-Qosi before him, his actual sentence…

Gitmo Justice

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 1:19pm

Friday morning, the first trial at Gitmo under President Obama was suspended because the defendant's lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, collapsed and had to be medevacked off the base for medical treatment. He's been given 30 days' convalescence leave.…

Reasonable Doubt

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 3:21pm

Opening statements began in the first trial under Obama's military commisions yesterday, and the prosecution called their first two witnesses against Canadian Omar Khadr. The youngest of Guantanamo's remaining 176 detainees, Khadr was captured in Afghanistan…

A Beacon for Liberty and Justice

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 11:23am

Tuesday was the conclusion of jury selection for the trial of Canadian Omar Khadr, as 15 jury pool members were whittled down to seven selected jurors, all officers in the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines.

Jury selection offered a glimpse into…

Making History

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 11:02am

Yesterday, I witnessed history being made here in Guantánamo, as jury selection began today in the first war crimes prosecution of a child soldier since World War II, and the first ever in U.S. history.

Accused of throwing a grenade…

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