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Despite Attacks of Conscience, Guantanamo Arraignment, Tribunals Continue (Updated June 19) by Khalida
June 17, 2008, 1:27 pm
Filed under: July Volume I- 2008, Latino/Caribe | Tags: , ,

<<Doubts. Yosri Fouda (bottom left), claimed in 2002 that although Khalid Shaikh Mohammed tries to appear the  “religious leader, or the leader of a political party…his shallow knowledge of both religion and politics” paints a different story; Top Pentagon lawyer William Haynes (middle left), who came up with a legal framework that would allow the military to ignore a law prohibiting American soldiers from engaging in torture, was initially rewarded a nomination for a life term as a federal judge, then fired upon pressure from Congress; the fourth chief prosecutor at Guantanamo to quit, Col. Morris Davis (bottom right), claims he was pressured by Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann (top) to rush the military tribunals before the presidential elections. Hartmann was disqualified from the trial recently after his impartiality came into serious question.

By Khalida Khaleel

Even without additional legislation to justify the proceedings, the tribunals are forging ahead as if the Supreme Court had not spoken at all.
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) made their own decision in May in regards to Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr. Their ruling was based on the original decision in 2004 by the U.S. Supreme Court, which said  the Guantanamo Bay process “violates international law,” as reported by CTV. “The process in place at Guantanamo Bay at the time Canadian officials interviewed K(hadr) and passed on the fruits of the interviews to U.S. officials, has been found by the U.S. Supreme Court … to violate U.S. domestic law and international human rights obligations to which Canada subscribes,’’ the ruling said.
Jurist reported the U.S. Department of Defense as having dismissed Col. Peter Brownback, the judge presiding over the military commission trial of Khadr. No explanation was given for the dismissal, but Khadr’s defense lawyers speculated that it was  related to Brownback’s threat last month to suspend the military commission proceedings against Khadr until and unless the U.S. government submits daily records of Khadr’s detention. Khadr’s military lawyers had requested the records to corroborate allegations of abusive treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Reuters reported that at a pre-trial hearing in the Khadr case, Brownback said that the Pentagon was unhappy with his decisions in the case, and that he had “taken a lot of heat” for dismissing charges against Khadr in June 2007. Those charges were later reinstated.
Most recently, the BBC reported that defense attorney in the case Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler alleged that Guantanamo Bay interrogators were told to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify on detainee treatment during the trials. He was, however, able to obtain a procedures manual which reportedly contained the torture instructions.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has “strongly” objected to a resolution passed by the Icelandic parliament on human rights abuse in the Guantanamo prison. The resolution “condemns the inhumane treatment of prisoners at the U.S. detention camp” and “urges that the camp be closed,” according to an English translation of the text, AFP reported.
“I strongly object to the notion that there are human rights violations at Guantanamo, as is suggested in the resolution,” Secretary Rice said Friday during a press conference with her Icelandic counterpart Ingibjoerg Solrun Gisladottir.
A bit of hope.Sami Al Hajj
Recently, a celebration was held in Sudan, with hundreds of well-wishers in attendance, after the release of Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera cameraman, from Guantanamo Bay.

(…article continues below)

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>>Sami Al-Hajj (center) with his son (left) and Wadah Khanfar (right), Al Jazeera’s director general, at al Hajj’s welcome home gathering. Officials told ABC news that al-Hajj’s claims of torture are false, calling him “manipulator” and “propagandist”. Al Jazeera photo.>>

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Civil society groups and the Al Jazeera television network organised the gathering in the capital, Khartoum, to mark al-Hajj’s freedom. He addressed the attendees and said that his U.S. captors had hoped to turn him into a spy. “I was subjugated to more than 130 interrogations, 95 of them were about my work and Al Jazeera,” he told the crowd, which included Wadah Khanfar, the network’s director general. “They wanted me to betray the principles of my job and to turn me into a spy. Al-Hajj had been held for nearly six and a half years without charge or trial. He was subjected to harsh psychological and physiological torture.

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