Live from Guantanamo

Human Rights First’s International Legal Director Gabor Rona is in Guantanamo all week monitoring military commissions. He writes about his Guantanamo impressions in this Huffington Post piece – “A Day in the Life of Guantanamo Military Commissions.”

He speaks of the prosecutor’s request that defendants be forced to come to the courtroom (they were boycotting the proceedings) with the bemused observation:

If the logic of forcing the accused to come to court in order to have them state
whether or not they wish to be there escapes you, welcome to the absurd world of
Guantanamo Military Commissions! My guess is that the prosecutor’s plea had more
to do with a desire to quash the defendants’ protests than with concern for
their rights.

This is Guantanamo, and military commissions. Gabor calls us back to reality with the striking conclusion on the easier way to prosecute suspected terrorists:

With all this fur flying chaos afoot, is it too much to expect that those
in power will come to their senses? That they will remember we have federal
criminal courts with jurisdiction over war crimes, terrorism and all manner
of bad behavior; that we have secure prisons from which no one escapes; and
that we have a system of civilian justice that is the global gold-standard
and that if used, would deprive these would-be warriors their desired
martyred status as victims of a judicial lynching.

Read more about Human Rights First’s work on why we should prosecute these cases in federal courts.

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Published on September 22, 2009

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