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February 11, 2008

More details on DOD seeking the death penalty in GITMO cases

As if there wasn't enough to talk about concerning the death penalty, here is an official press release titled "Defense Department Seeks Death Penalty for Six Guantanamo Bay Detainees."  Here are a few excerpts:

The Defense Department announced today it has sworn criminal charges and is seeking the death penalty against six detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The detainees charged include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and five others charged in connection with the attacks, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, legal advisor to the convening authority in DoD’s Office of Military Commissions, told reporters at the Pentagon....

The chief prosecutor, who submitted the charges, has recommended that the six detainees be tried jointly and that the case be referred as capital for each defendant.  Now that the charges are sworn, the convening authority, Susan Crawford, will review the charges and supporting evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to refer the case for trial by military commission and whether the case should be capital, Hartmann said.

If Crawford does refer the case to trial, it will take place at Guantanamo Bay, and the Defense Department will make the hearings as open as possible, Hartmann said.  He emphasized that the charges today represent allegations only, and the detainees are innocent until proven guilty.

The charge sheet details 169 overt acts allegedly committed by the defendants in the planning and execution of the Sept. 11 events.... In addition to the right to examine evidence used against them, including classified evidence, Hartmann noted that detainees in the military commissions process also have many other rights, including the right to remain silent, the right to representation by a detailed military counsel or civilian counsel at no expense to the government, the right to obtain evidence and call witnesses on their own behalf, the right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and the right to be present during presentation of evidence.

In the case of a capital offense, a military commission panel composed of at least 12 members will determine a detainee’s guilt, and the detainee has the right to appeal the panel’s decision first to the Court of Military Commission Review, then through the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court....

Hartmann noted that the sequence of events used in charging detainees at Guantanamo Bay is very similar to that used in charging U.S. servicemembers in military courts.  “It's our obligation to move the process forward, to give these people their rights,” he said. “We are going to give them rights. We are going to give them rights that are virtually identical to the rights we provide to our military members, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who fight in the battlefield, and I think we'll all agree are national treasures.”

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February 11, 2008 at 04:39 PM | Permalink


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The Department of Defense announced today that charges have been filed against six of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in connection with the events of September 11, 2001. The Defense Department announced today that charges have been sworn ag... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 11, 2008 5:21:00 PM



At the risk of sounding jerky, when capitalized the base at Guantanamo is GTMO (the military abbreviation) when pronounced it becomes Gitmo or gitmo.

& if I haven't said it this week, thanks for making me (and I am assuming most of your other practitioner lawyers) better advocates than we were before discovering your blog.

Posted by: karl | Feb 11, 2008 5:39:18 PM

Seems rather difficult to reconcile the "right to remain silent" with the CIA's admission the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was interrogated via waterboarding.

Posted by: Anon23 | Feb 11, 2008 7:06:08 PM

This just isn't about sentencing. This is either pure politics, or some kind of litigation strategy related to the DCT and CTA cases. There are so many procedural hurdles (as well as legislative interventions) that any discussion of sentencing is as premature as talking about whether it would be better to eat at a McDonalds or Burgerking at a road-side rest area when traveling between Mars colonies.

Posted by: S.cotus | Feb 11, 2008 8:43:11 PM

Are all six of these men charged with murder? If not, it might be interesting to think about these prosecutions in light of Kennedy v. Louisiana -- the case the Supreme Court will hear later this term involving a defendant who received a death sentence for a crime other than murder.

Posted by: dm | Feb 11, 2008 9:40:22 PM

I agree, this case isn't likely to see trial under after the 2008 elections, if ever.

Posted by: karl | Feb 11, 2008 10:37:18 PM

Bush and his administration want to hide the truth from people as always. If he and his administration have such true and irrefutable evidences against these people, why do they not bring a lawsuit agains them in normal criminal, civil court of justice?
Till now irrefutable evidences of Bush and his admnistration are following:
war in Iraq-Hussein has chemical, nuclear and biological weapon - 1,6 mln of people were killed by Bush in Iraq, the state completely destroyed, this country exists no more, 2 old barrels with paint were found on the desert - irrefutable evidnce of Bush.
Afghanistan - residence of Bin Laden, who were there maybe when he was 20-30. And what did Bush do with Afghanistan? How many people were killed by him there - about 1 mln, he ruined this country completely , he made of it the biggest drug dealer of the world.
Iran - nuclear weapon. They have no nuclearr weapon and they do not build it
China - toxic toys which transformer in rape pills, mini nuclear weapon and puffed dolls for boys ( to depravate US unblernished boys )
Are evidences against these men the same type as all Bush`s evidences? In which way were these evidences received? Were these people forced by using tortures ( waterboarding, electroshock, sleep deprivation, mental cruelty) to giving evidence? Are their testymonie reliable? And what if it is fabricated? He will kill the next 6 innocent people
It is just politics and evidences of Bush - very sick, hypocritical man, who way of life relies upon lies and crimes.

Posted by: Felix | Feb 12, 2008 11:56:36 AM

Felix, Under no administration that I am aware of did the government sue people that were accused of committing crimes such as murder, civilly. The rest of your post is just political rhetoric, which has nothing to do with whatever is at issue here.

Posted by: S.cotus | Feb 12, 2008 4:38:16 PM

Just so you know, The convening authority hasn't even referred such charges yet.

Posted by: S.cotus | Feb 13, 2008 10:26:17 AM

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