Amnesty outraged by Gitmo trials

May 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- Military proceedings for suspects tied to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States are a "gross distortion" of the law, Amnesty International said.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and four of his alleged co-conspirators face charges before a military commission Saturday at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The U.S. Defense Department, in early April, said charges have been filed to a military commission in the case against Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi.

Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war. They could face the death penalty.

Amnesty International issued a 16-page response Friday saying the proceedings were moving ahead in a "deeply flawed and widely discredited" military commission.

Furthermore, remaining Guantanamo detainees should have been transferred to civilian custody under a presidential order issued two years ago.

Amnesty International notes they've been kept in custody under policies adopted under the theory that the fight against groups like al-Qaida was a type of global war.

"As Amnesty International has repeatedly asserted, this theory is a gross distortion of international law," the group said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had wanted to prosecute the suspects in federal court in New York. He was thwarted by restrictions mandated by Congress on the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States.

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