Tag: trials

Guantanamo cases may go to military courts?(more)

For all the reading Ive done in recent months, I have not quite gotten to this whole issue of military versus criminal court systems for trying the Gitmo prisoners, so Im pretty clueless here. I can gather a few things from this article but I just don’t have the whole picture at all. The article has an awful lot of “could be’s” and “mights”.

New York Times has U.S. May Revive Guantánamo Military Courts today.

Anyone care to fill me in or comment further?

NOTE: This story was diaried last night at the orange, by marketgeek,  but went without much comment. It was late I guess.

Another Sham Trial In Iraq

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Oh please.  The New York Times says that a trial date has been set for “the Iraqi Shoe-Thrower” for February 19.  But this trial is unlikely to resemble anything you’d call fair.  Let us parse the news together:

Lawyers for the journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, 29, had tried to reduce the charges stemming from the incident, which made him a folk hero in much of the Arab world and beyond, but in setting a trial date a higher court let the most serious charges stand. If convicted, he could face as many as 15 years in prison….snip

Security guards quickly subdued him, as he continued to shout about the fate of widows and orphans, and he has remained in detention ever since. His relatives and lawyers say he has been tortured in custody, and complain that they have been allowed minimal opportunities to see him or to discuss his case.

The incident occurred on December 14, so Mr. al-Zaidi has been incarcerated now for almost 2 months without reasonable access to counsel.  And he’s been tortured.  That sounds like a fair trial in the making to me. Not.

The Times ends its brief article with this remarkable zinger:

His trial could become an important – and highly visible – test of Iraq’s still-evolving judicial system. It was not clear how much of his trial, if any, will be open to the public.

“Still-evolving” has to be one of the most remarkable euphemisms of all time.  “Still-evolving” in this case means that the accused can be tortured, kept away from family and counsel for almost two months, tried in secret, and then sentenced up to 15 years.  I wouldn’t exactly call that “still-evolving.”   Or justice. Truth be told, we should call it what it is, a sham.  

Secret Afghani Trials For Detainees

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.”

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