93 Prisoners Suffer Lawless Detention

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"If a prosecutor can't put together a case against someone who has been sitting in prison for as long as 13 [now 14] years, there is no reason that person should continue to sit in prison, whether in Guantánamo or someplace else." -- American Civil Liberties Union counsel Chris Anders  

The transfer of 10 Yemeni men to the Gulf nation of Oman yesterday leaves fewer than 100 men held at Guantanamo. Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi, Samir Naji al-Hasan Muqbil, Adham Mohamed Ali Awad, Mukhtar Yahya Naji al-Warafi, Abu Bakr Ibn Muhammad al-Ahdal, Muhammad Salih Husayn al-Shaykh, Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman, Said Muhammad Salih Hatim, Umar Said Salim al-Dini, and Fahmi Abdallah Ahmad Ubadi al-Tulaqi were "dropped off" in Oman for a "temporary stay." Their ultimate destination is anybody's guess.

We continue to demand Due Process for the remaining prisoners. The late Judge Henry Friendly generated a "required procedures" list that remains highly influential:

 1. An unbiased tribunal. 
 2. Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
 3. Opportunity to present reasons why the proposed action should not be taken.
 4. The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
 5. The right to know opposing evidence.
 6. The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
 7. A decision based exclusively on the evidence presented.
 8. Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
 9. Requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented.
10. Requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and reasons for its decision.

The civilian "tribunals" mentioned above should not be confused with the military tribunals authorized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 as an alternative to trying detainees in the regular court system. Wikipedia makes the distinction:

The United States has two parallel justice systems, with laws, statutes, precedents, rules of evidence, and paths for appeal. Under these justice systems, prisoners have certain rights. They have a right to know the evidence against them; they have a right to protect themselves against self-incrimination; they have a right to counsel; and they have a right to have the witnesses against them cross-examined.

The two parallel justice systems are the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government, and a slightly streamlined justice system named the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for people under military jurisdiction. People undergoing a military court martial are entitled to the same basic rights as those in the civilian justice system.

The Guantanamo military trials under the 2006 MCA do not operate according to either system of justice.

Further, because the accused are charged as unlawful combatants (a certain category of people who are not classified as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions), then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in March 2002 that an acquittal on all charges by the commission is no guarantee of a release.

Indeed, President Obama's authorization for Periodic Review Boards to determine the fate of Guantanamo prisoners has created what The Washington Post describes a formal system of indefinite detention, "The Tragedy At The Heart of Guantánamo."

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This page contains a single entry published on January 14, 2016 11:53 AM.

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