Human Rights Watch blasts Obama

May 16, 2009 at 1:51 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch called President Barack Obama's plan to use military commissions to try some U.S. detainees a step back from his campaign promises.

"The military commissions system is flawed beyond repair," said Kenneth Roth, the group's executive director. "By resurrecting this failed Bush administration idea, President Obama is backtracking dangerously on his reform agenda."

Obama has said that only a few of the detainees now in Guantanamo would go before military commissions instead of courts. He has also said that evidence rules would be changed in favor of the defense and detainees would have more freedom to choose their lawyers.

Human Rights Watch said that even if Obama places new limits on hearsay evidence it is still dangerous to allow it.

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