Guantánamo Dispatch

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

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 eight years ago, when he was 15 years old.

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…

A System Designed to Produce Convictions, Not Justice

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 4:40pm

On Monday pretrial hearings resumed in the case of Canadian Omar Khadr, captured at age 15 by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier and participating in a terrorist conspiracy beginning when he was…

Trial Under Guantánamo's Rules

By Ahilan Arulanantham, Deputy Legal Director, ACLU of Southern California at 3:38pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

I spent the morning of my second full day at Guantánamo observing the military commission hearing of Sudanese national Noor Uthman Muhammed. Muhammed was charged in December 2008 with murder in violation…

A Nightmare for Justice in the Middle of the Caribbean

By Ahilan Arulanantham, Deputy Legal Director, ACLU of Southern California at 1:50pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

I've come to Guantánamo as an ACLU representative to observe a Military Commission hearing for a detainee named Noor Uthman Muhammed. I'm one of four "NGO monitors" who has come down for them…

Pentagon Should Reverse Gitmo Reporter Ban

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 3:04pm

In a group letter sent today, the ACLU, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the National Institute for Military Justice called for the Department of Defense to reverse its decision banning four reporters from covering…

Taxi to the Dark Side

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 12:40pm

Hearings continued Monday and Tuesday in the case of Canadian Omar Khadr, the last Western national still being held at Guantánamo. Now 23, Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade…

One Step Forward; Two Steps Back

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:25pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

An unavoidable consequence of creating a new and ad hoc justice system on the fly is that issues that would be simple and routine in an ordinary criminal trial end up raising questions that are novel and highly…

A Plea to Obama, from Guantánamo

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 11:35am

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

Yesterday marked the final military commission hearing before the eve of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. The question of what will become of Guantánamo was a subject of much speculation…

Guantánamo Dispatch: When a Guilty Plea is the Way Out

Guantánamo Dispatch: When a Guilty Plea is the Way Out

By Marcellene Hearn, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 9:53am

I watched a man yesterday plead guilty to war crimes in a military commission, and it troubled me. It troubled me because just the day before, I watched the defense counsel in another commission proceeding taking place at Guantánamo this week make…

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