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Guantanamo Bay detainees to get trial date.

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  • Guantanamo Bay detainees to get trial date.

    Well the first Guantanamo Bay detainee's are scheduled to go to court soon.

    Originally posted by Associated Press
    U.S. Forms Tribunal for 3 Terror Suspects

    By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - The U.S. military has formed a five-member military tribunal to preside over the first trials of terror suspects held at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, officials said Tuesday. An Australian and two alleged bodyguards of Osama bin laden will be the first defendants.

    The Pentagon announcement came a day after the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay can appeal their detention to civilian courts.

    That ruling was a blow to President Bush's stance that the United States can jail terror suspects without judicial review and that the Cuban base was outside the reach of U.S. courts. Relatives and advocates are now planning hundreds of lawsuits to challenge the detainees' captivity.

    The trials — of an Australian, a Sudanese and a Yemeni — would be the first military tribunals convened by the United States since the end of World War II.

    "This is an important first step," Air Force Maj. John Smith, a lawyer who helped draft the tribunal rules, said in a telephone interview from the Pentagon. "We'd like to have a case tried by the end of the year."

    Smith said the trials would be held at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, where detainees have been held since January 2002 and now number about 600 from 42 countries.

    The first to be tried will be David Hicks of Australia, Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul of Yemen and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi of Sudan — the only detainees charged to date, and three of only four allowed access to lawyers.

    The Pentagon did not say who would go first, and said lawyers would be contacted "in the near future" about setting a trial schedule.

    The men have been charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes and other offenses that carry sentences of up to life imprisonment, the Pentagon has said, ruling out death sentences for the three. The tribunals are empowered to deliver the death sentence if members are unanimous.

    The presiding officer will be retired Army Col. Peter E. Brownback III, a judge advocate for 22 years and a military judge for nearly 10 years, the Pentagon said.

    Other panel members are two Marine colonels, an Air Force colonel and an Air Force lieutenant colonel, it said. Smith said one alternate also was named.

    Hicks, a 28-year-old convert to Islam, is accused of training at al-Qaida camps and taking up arms against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. Charges include war crimes conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. His lawyers say he will plead innocent.

    The military has charged al Qosi and al Bahlul with war crimes conspiracy, saying al Qosi was an al-Qaida accountant and bin Laden bodyguard and al Bahlul was a bin Laden bodyguard and propagandist for al-Qaida.

    The U.S. government has maintained that the prisoners at Guantanamo, suspected of links to al-Qaida and Afghanistan's fallen Taliban regime, are "enemy combatants" and not prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.

    But the Bush administration has come under criticism for holding the detainees without charge or legal recourse — in some cases for years. Some critics argue not all the detainees are connected to terrorism.

    Defense lawyers have criticized the military tribunal process as stacked against them. Last week, Britain's attorney general said military tribunals were unacceptable because they would not provide a fair trial by international standards.

    Smith said Monday's Supreme Court ruling did not affect the tribunals. "The Supreme Court decision right now doesn't directly affect military commissions at all," he said. "Everyone would like to move this cases forward as quickly as possible."

    But Tuesday's move likely was aimed at assuring people that detainees are not being held arbitrarily following the Supreme Court ruling, said Neal Katyal, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University.

    "The administration wants to convey the impression that there is a procedure in process at Guantanamo," he said.

    The military could also have been waiting to see how far the Supreme Court would go, said Thomas H. Lee, a Fordham University law professor and former Navy intelligence officer.

    "There's nothing in the ruling that says a military tribunal is inadequate," he noted.

    The military lawyer appointed for al Bahlul, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Philip Sundel, said he is concerned about time to prepare because he has not talked with his client for nearly three months due to delays in obtaining security clearance for an Arabic interpreter.

    Other defense lawyers plan a flurry of legal challenges based on the Supreme Court decision.

    "We will be filing hundreds of cases," said Qatari lawyer Najeeb al-Nauimi, from a committee of lawyers claiming to represent more than 300 detainees. Al-Nauimi said he is personally representing about 90 detainees and will start filing suits next week in Washington.

    One federal lawsuit already pending in Seattle challenges the lawfulness of tribunals on behalf of detainee Salim Ahmed Salim Hamdan of Yemen, who has not been charged.

    Among those held are seven French detainees, four Britons and a Swede, whose governments have been pressing U.S. authorities for their status to be resolved.


    Associated Press writer Ian James contributed to this report from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  • #2
    Let me guess where the eveidence against Hicks will come from, ummmmm would it be from forced confessions? no surely not!

    The US has no evidence that he took part in fighting Americans or conspiring to anything. Thats a guess, lets see if it is true.

    How can someone be accused of 'taking up arms against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.' when you are not considered a POW? Were the northern alliance at war with the legitimate gov of afganistan at the time? What a ****en croc of ****! No offence personally but the US gov just like the Aus one atm, really suck arse big time.

    Give the bloke his rights back as a human bieng and Australian citizen i say!
    Last edited by Temujin; 01 Jul 04, 02:41.
    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash


    • #3
      I think these guys should have been treated as POWs of the war in the country within which they were captured. There should have been a declaration of this policy stated as part of a formal 'declaration of war' on terrorism, which should have outlined our policy to combat terrorism and the rules with which we were planning to fight it. If the Bush administration really wanted a Guantanamo bay they should have declared it in this declaration of war I advocate, which should have been passed by congress.
      ...a man that can stand up for a principle and sit down on his own stool.
      -the Firesign Theatre


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