Joint Statement of NGO Observers at Guantánamo Bay Military Commission Proceedings

August 23, 2004
Joint Statement of NGO Observers at Guantánamo Bay Military Commission Proceedings

Observers Concerned About Lack of Access to Key Participants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gitmo Dispatches 

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, CUBA -- Representatives of human rights and legal organizations invited to observe military commission proceedings at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba today expressed concern that they were being denied access to key participants in commission proceedings. 

Representatives from the ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the denial impeded their ability to effectively assess the proceeding's compliance with international fair trial standards. Representatives from these organizations arrived at the base over the weekend to observe the commission trials starting Tuesday. 

Defense officials declined a joint request by the groups to meet the presiding officer, prosecution attorneys, military commission translators and law clerks. 

Officials also barred the observers from accompanying 53 members of the national and international press who were granted access to visit detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay. Invited observers had received clearance to participate as courtroom observers when military commission proceedings begin.



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