The New York Times this morning is reporting that Afghanistan is holding secret trials for dozens of Afghan men who were formerly detained by the US in Gitmo and Baghram:
Dozens of Afghan men who were previously held by the United States at Bagram Air Base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are now being tried [in Afghanistan] in secretive Afghan criminal proceedings based mainly on allegations forwarded by the American military.
The prisoners are being convicted and sentenced to as much as 20 years’ confinement in trials that typically run between half an hour and an hour, said human rights investigators who have observed them. One early trial was reported to have lasted barely 10 minutes, an investigator said. /snip
Witnesses do not appear in court and cannot be cross-examined. There are no sworn statements of their testimony.
Instead, the trials appear to be based almost entirely on terse summaries of allegations that are forwarded to the Afghan authorities by the United States military. Afghan security agents add what evidence they can, but the cases generally center on events that sometimes occurred years ago in war zones that the authorities may now be unable to reach.
“These are no-witness paper trials that deny the defendants a fundamental fair-trial right to challenge the evidence and mount a defense,” said Sahr MuhammedAlly, a lawyer for the advocacy group Human Rights First who has studied the proceedings. “So any convictions you get are fundamentally flawed.”
Join me below.