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Friday, August 15, 2008

US military judge disqualifies Pentagon advisor from another Guantanamo trial
Mike Rosen-Molina at 11:52 AM ET

[JURIST] A military judge on Thursday ordered that military commissions [JURIST news archive] legal advisor Gen. Thomas Hartmann [official profile] will not participate in the Guantanamo trial of Afghan detainee Mohammed Jawad [DOD materials; JURIST news archive]. The judge, Army Col. Steve Henley, held that Hartmann had made public statements suggesting he was overly favorable to prosecutors [JURIST report] despite the purported neutrality of his role. Former Guantanamo prosecutor Col. Morris D. Davis [official profile, PDF] testified that Hartmann has pressed prosecutors to bring charges against Jawad, believing that the trial would excite the American public. Jawad's lawyers sought to have charges against him dismissed due to alleged misconduct by Hartmann, but the judge denied their motion. AP has more.

Hartmann has previously been accused of bias towards prosecutors. At a Wednesday hearing, US Army Gen. Gregory Zanetti [official profile], deputy commander at Guantanamo Bay, testified [JURIST report] that Hartmann routinely bullied his counterparts and was inappropriately aggressive in seeking indictments against detainees. In May, lawyers for detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] unsuccessfully moved to have charges against their client dropped because of similar allegations [JURIST report] against Hartman. Earlier that month, Hartman was disqualified [JURIST report] from participating in the military commission trial of detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], but he has refused to resign [JURIST report] from his post.

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