Guantanamo: Hearsay Evidence Could Convict, Imprison and Execute Detainees

As if the shadow of injustice cast over Guantanamo Bay wasn’t already dark enough, the Pentagon is set to further cement the legacy of their War on Terror with a set of new rules on ‘trying’ detainees.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The US Defence Department has drafted a manual for trying detainees at the American naval base in Cuba that would allow terrorist suspects to be imprisoned, convicted and executed on the basis of hearsay evidence or coerced testimony.

The BBC:

Military lawyers representing detainees are worried that statements from other detainees could be used to incriminate defendants and there would be no way of knowing if the information was extracted under torture, says the BBC Adam Brookes in Washington.

But a senior lawyer for the Pentagon said the trials would be just and fair and detainees would be given “all the judicial guarantees which are recognised as indispensable by civilised people”.

“Certainly, both sides having the opportunity to admit hearsay levels the playing field,” said Dan Dell’Orto.

“And the only evidence that will be submitted before the members ultimately will be evidence that the judge determines to be reliable and probative,” he added.

Seems fair to me. As long as the shit slinging is allowed to go both ways, I see no reason why detainees and their lawyers would not be given anything less than the benefit of the doubt when up against government prosecutors flinging the same shit back the other way.

If you want to read the 238 page draft for yourself you can find it here.


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