2 US groups offer to defend 'high-value' Gitmo detainees

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said they are assembling teams of civilian attorneys to help defend some of the suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

2 US groups offer to defend 'high-value' Gitmo detainees
The two groups said they will offer assistance to "high-value" detainees — a group including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks — who could face execution if convicted at the first U.S. war-crimes trials since World War II.

In a statement Thursday night, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said his group wants to make the proceedings "as fair as possible."

"In America, we do not believe in having fair trials for some defendants but not for others," said Romero, who accused the government of trying to ensure convictions with rules that allow hearsay evidence and confessions obtained through coercion.

The civilian attorneys, if authorized to participate by the detainees, would play a secondary role to Pentagon-appointed defense attorneys during the military tribunals.

The chief defense counsel for the Guantanamo tribunals, Army Col. Steve David, said Friday that he welcomed the expertise of the civilian lawyers in areas such as death penalty cases to complement his office's resources.

Last Mod: 04 Nisan 2008, 18:18
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