Saturday, 19 July 2008
Update from Guantánamo
A federal district judge ruled Thursday that the military trial of Yemeni national Salim Hamdan can proceed, despite acknowledging questions about the constitutionality of the Guantánamo military commission system. The ACLU is at Guantánamo Bay this week in order to observe Hamdan’s hearings.
"It is unfortunate that this trial will go forward. As Judge Robertson noted, there are serious questions about the constitutionality of the rules under which Mr. Hamdan will be tried. It doesn't make sense to conduct a trial under rules that are likely to be found unconstitutional later on. Proceeding with this trial now will only draw out a legal process that has taken far too long already, and further discredit a system that has been a disgrace from the start,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project.
Following last month's Supreme Court decision ruling that the Constitution and habeas corpus apply at Guantánamo, news outlets have reported that the Bush administration is engaging in detailed planning for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. As the premise for the existence of the Guantánamo prison camp and the military commission system continues to crumble, the Bush administration is continuing to rush through proceedings of high profile detainees before the November election.
As part of its John Adams Project, a partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the ACLU is sponsoring expert civilian counsel to assist the under-resourced military defense counsel of some detainees.
The ACLU renews its call for the prison and the military commissions occurring there to be shut down once and for all.
>> Take action: Call on America's leaders to shut down Guantánamo Bay and end the military commission system of injustice.