Guantanamo Bay Detainees Get their Day in Court (FINALLY)

Posted on 15. Nov, 2009 by in Uncategorized

Obama’s first move as president is becoming a reality. Guantanamo Bay prisoners are finally being brought to court. Of the 240 detainees, 30 cases have already been heard and dismissed. Some prisoners even got the opportunity to testify by video transmitted from Cuba to the panel of 15 federal judges.

But as the government accelerates towards (hopefully) the eventual closing of Guantanamo Bay, they must resolve what to do with the prisoners, if and when they are released. According to the L.A. Times, the Obama administration was preparing to admit seven Chinese Muslims who had been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. The seven prisoners claimed they could not return to China for fear of persecution.

“Their release is seen as a crucial step to plans, announced by President Obama during his first week in office, to close the prison and relocate the detainees. Administration officials also believe that settling some of them in American communities will set an example, helping to persuade other nations to accept Guantanamo detainees too.”

According to The Washington Independent, 50 of the 240 prisoners left at Guantanamo have told their lawyers they’re afraid they will be tortured in their home countries if returned there.

According to the Associated Press:

In the case of a detainee from Syria, Abdulrahim Abdul Razak Al Ginco, who uses the surname Janko, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon pointed to evidence that the man had been tortured repeatedly by al-Qaida for three months into falsely confessing that he was a U.S. spy, then jailed for 18 months by the Taliban in Kandahar before he fell into the hands of U.S. forces.

“Notwithstanding these extraordinary intervening events, the government contends that Janko was still ‘part of’ the Taliban and/or al-Qaida when he was taken into custody,” Leon wrote in ordering the detainee’s release. “Surely extreme treatment of that nature evinces a total evisceration of whatever relationship might have existed!”

Under the Bush administration terror suspects were investigated by the CIA and treated as military prisoners. Police and FBI were not in charge of collecting evidence that could have brought these cases before a judge much sooner. Now we are left with shoddy evidence as to even why some of the detainees were held in the first place.

This is certainly a subject for debate. Especially as proof mounts, that many of these cases were poorly investigated. Sending them back to their home countries might just leave them worse off than they were at Gitmo. If we are going to drop the cases on 30 of those prisoners because of insufficient evidence, should we send them back to countries were they could potentially face torture or death? Should we care?

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