ACLU to Provide Live Updates from Guantánamo Military Tribunals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2006
> Report to the UN Committee Against Torture
> Government Torture and Abuse NEW YORK — As military commissions resume today at the Guantánamo Bay naval base, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney attending the hearings will post his observations to the ACLU’s blog at http://blog.aclu.org.
“The military commissions at Guantánamo are inconsistent with all recognized fair-trial standards under United States and international law,” said ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, who is observing the hearings this week. “The United States should be showing the world that it can give justice to Guantánamo detainees, not creating a biased and illegitimate system from whole cloth. If the detainees at Guantánamo truly are the ‘worst of the worst,’ then we should be able to prosecute them without inventing new rules as we go along.”
The hearings resume today with the cases of three men who are charged with conspiring with al Qaeda to commit terrorism, attack civilians, murder, and destroy property. Sufyian Barhoumi, an Algerian national, and Saudi citizens Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi and Jabran Said bin al Qahtani were arrested in Pakistan on March 28, 2002, and detained at Guantánamo for nearly four years before being charged with crimes by the Department of Defense.
Last week, the Pentagon released a previously secret list of 558 detainees held at Guantánamo Bay who come from 41 different countries. The revelation has drawn sharp criticism from other nations that say their citizens are being held without charge. The British government is pressing for the release of its residents, including Bisher al-Rawi, who has been held by the United States without charges for more than three years.
On Friday, the Pentagon revealed that nearly 30 percent of the Guantánamo detainees – 141 men – have been cleared to leave the prison. However, the detainees remain at Guantánamo because the U.S. government has apparently been unable to arrange for their return to their home countries. The Pentagon has not released the names of these detainees.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has also recently come under fire for allegations of abuse at the camp. A December 20, 2005 Army Inspector General’s report, disclosed by Salon.com, describes Rumsfeld as “personally involved” in the 2002 interrogation of Mohammad al-Qahtani, who was subjected to what Army investigators called “degrading and abusive” treatment.
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