Sunday, February 24 2008 - Other Important News
Planned Guantanamo Trials Deny 9/11 Defendants Basic Rights
More on the six Guantanamo detainees referred to in the previously posted statement of the September 11th Advocates, from Between the Lines Radio's interview with Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild.
Between The Lines
LISTEN to this week's entire program/view the program summary.
Interview with Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild,
On Feb. 11, the Bush administration announced it would charge six detainees held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, alleged to be involved in the planning of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Among those being charged are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the purported mastermind of the 9/11 conspiracy. This is the first set of charges brought by U.S. authorities against Guantanamo detainees that related directly to involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.
These trials will be conducted under the rules outlined in the Military Commissions Act passed in 2006 by the Republican-controlled Congress in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the original Bush trial procedures at Guantanamo were unconstitutional.
Although the Military Commissions Act forbids the admission of evidence extracted by torture, it permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before Dec. 30, 2005. Thus, the Bush administration's refusal to declare waterboarding as an act of torture will be a key issue in these trials. Other procedures criticized allow a trial to proceed in the absence of the accused, places the power to appoint judges in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, permits the introduction of hearsay and evidence obtained without a warrant, and denies the accused the right to see all of the evidence against them. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, and professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, who assesses the legitimacy and fairness of the trials planned for these six Guantanamo detainees.
Marjorie Cohn is author of "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law." Contact the Laywers Guild at (212) 627-2656 or visit their website at NLG.org. Read professor Cohn's articles online at her website MarjorieCohn.com.
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