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Right to a Fair and Speedy Trial? Five Years Later, Gitmo Detainees Finally Charged

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May 13, 2008

Today the Department of Defense (DoD) announced that five Guantanamo detainees’ charges have been referred to trial by the military commission’s Convening Authority, Susan Crawford. The DOD accuses these detainees of planning and executing the 9/11 attacks.

Among those detainees is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the Pentagon admitted the government to waterboarding. Mohammed was detained by U.S. forces for five years before being allowed to speak to a lawyer.

But while these charges were announced today, there’s still no plan to allow these detainees access to counsel. David Nevin and Scott McKay, two highly accomplished criminal defense lawyers with years of experience representing defendants in challenging cases, have yet to receive final security clearance from the DoD to represent Mohammed. Nevin and McKay would represent Mohammed on behalf of the ACLU and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers effort, the John Adams Project, in which we are assembling legal teams to be available to assist in the representation of Guantanamo detainees charged in the Bush administration’s military commissions.

Under the rules of the military commission proceedings, the five detainees will be arraigned in 30 days.