White House seeks Guantanamo changes

June 5, 2009 at 9:44 PM

WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- The White House is considering clearing the way for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who face the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The New York Times reported Friday that the change would allow military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to plead guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.

The newspaper said the proposal is in draft form and will be submitted to Congress.

"This unfortunately strikes me as an effort to get rid of the problem in the easiest way possible, which is to have those people plead guilty and presumably be executed. But I think it's going to lack international credibility," said David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who has written about the military commission system.

The Times reported lawyers said the proposed changes appeared to be intended for the Sept. 11 cases.

"They are trying to give the 9/11 guys what they want: Let them plead guilty and get the death penalty and not have to have a trial," said Air Force Maj. David J. R. Frakt, a Guantanamo Bay defense lawyer.

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