Leaked Emails Claim Guantanemo Hearings are Rigged


 

Leaked Emails Claim Guantanemo Hearings are Rigged
 


31 July 2005 at 6:49:41 PM
salon

Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people," Maj Preston wrote.

"Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time."

Maj Preston says he cannot continue to work on a process he considers morally, ethically and professionally intolerable.

"I lie awake worrying about this every night," he wrote.

"I find it almost impossible to focus on my part of mission.

"After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."

Maj Preston was transferred out of the Office of Military Commissions less than a month later.

Rigged?

The second email is written by another prosecutor, Captain John Carr, who also ended up leaving the department.

Capt Carr says the commissions appear to be rigged.

"When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused," he wrote.

"Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged."

Capt Carr says that the prosecutors have been told by the chief prosecutor that the panel sitting in judgment on the cases would be handpicked to ensure convictions.

"You have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel," he said.

Significant find

David Hicks' defence lawyer, Major Michael Mori, says the documents are "highly significant".

"For the first time, we're seeing that concerns about the fairness of the military commissions extend to the heart of the process," Maj Mori said.

David Hicks's father, Terry, says the latest revelations confirm what he has suspected all along.

"These commissions weren't set up to release people," he said.

"These commissions were set up to make sure they were prosecuted and get the time that they give them, and the other thing we've said all along, that we believe that this system has been rigged as they call it."


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