Saturday, November 15, 2008

Closing Gitmo: Inadmissable Evidence, Inconvenient Torturees

Good article from the BBC on issues facing Obama re: closing Gitmo.

"Legal problems

The legal problems involved in trying terrorist suspects have not yet been resolved. Some say that the prisoners should simply be brought before normal US courts. It is thought there are about 50 or so prisoners who might face trial, out of the 255 or so in the camp.

A new system would also come under the close scrutiny of the US courts and a case against it would probably go right up to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality

The problem is that evidence against them might have obtained either through coercion, or even torture, or from foreign agencies which have used similar methods.

Some of this evidence might be admitted in a trial before a military tribunal. So might hearsay evidence, in which someone relates what he or she was told, if the military judge decides that it would have "probative value to a reasonable person".

But neither would be acceptable under the normal rules of US courts.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for example, charged at Guantanamo with responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, was subject to waterboarding. It is true that he has expressed a wish to die but a civilian court in the US might not admit evidence against him gathered at Guantanamo Bay. Then what happens? It is hard to see him simply being released.

There is also the problem of whether the source of some evidence should be withheld from the prisoner."

And what are they going to do with all the prisoners they've driven mad?

See Torturing Democracy.

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