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Friday, November 17, 2006

Guantanamo combatant status reviews 'show trials': report
Kate Heneroty at 11:40 AM ET

[JURIST] US military Combatant Status Review Tribunals [DOD materials] do not offer detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] an adequate opportunity to contest the accusations against them or to object to their status as enemy combatants [JURIST news archive], according to a report [PDF text] released Friday. Seton Hall law professor Mark Denbeaux [faculty profile] and Joshua Denbeaux analyzed transcripts and recordings of 393 detainee hearings, some of which were released by the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act [text; DOJ materials] lawsuit. They found that the government had not presented witnesses at the hearings and had denied all detainee requests to examine classified evidence against them and all requests for defense witnesses not housed at Guantanamo Bay. Data analyzed also showed that between 2004 and 2005, the military conducted 558 Combatant Status Review Tribunals, and found that only 38 detainees were not enemy combatants. Detainees failed to present any evidence of their guilt or innocence in 91 percent of the hearings, leading the report to conclude: "No American would ever consider this a hearing... This is a show trial."

The US government says that the Combatant Status Reviews are detainees' opportunity to contest their detention and has opposed detainees' access to civilian courts. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] strips alien enemy combatants of their right to challenge their detention by a writ of habeas corpus. AP has more.

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