Guantánamo Dispatch

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

Reporting from Guantánamo: Leaving the Constitution on the Mainland

Reporting from Guantánamo: Leaving the Constitution on the Mainland

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:15pm
This week I am in Guantánamo Bay observing a hearing in the case of Abd al-Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri (pronounced al-NAH-shiri), the first death penalty case to be tried by military commission. Mr. al-Nashiri faces charges for his alleged participation in the attack on the destroyer USS Cole over 11 years ago. Apprehended in 2002, he was held by the CIA for four years in secret before his transfer to military custody. U.S. officials brutally tortured Mr. al-Nashiri: he was waterboarded, and threatened with a power drill and handgun next to his head. Sadly, this week's pretrial hearing in his case continues to erode the commission's purported commitment to fairness, transparency, and justice and instead affirms a commitment to Guantánamo's shameful legacy of injustice.
Report from Guantánamo Hearings: When Due Process is a Matter of Life and Death

Report from Guantánamo Hearings: When Due Process is a Matter of Life and Death

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:39pm

After two lengthy days of arguments, the al-Nashiri case seems hardly closer to coming to trial. Defense counsel suggested the trial wouldn't even begin until 2015.

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…

Still Prosecuting the Little Fish at Gitmo

By Sarah Mehta, Researcher, ACLU Human Rights Program 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, Researcher, ACLU Human Rights Program 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…

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