Guantanamo update

News firms claim ban on Guantanamo reporters is illegal

The Miami Herald reports that  a coalition of major news organizations is challenging as unconstitutional Pentagon rules that were used in May to ban four reporters from covering the prosecution of Omar Khadr at Guantanamo Bay.

 In a letter to Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson, the organizations argue that the Pentagon’s interpretation of the rules is “plainly illegal” because it bars publication of information considered “protected” even if the information is already widely known and publicly available. Such a restriction is “a ‘classic example’ of a prior restraint” that “the Supreme Court repeatedly has refused to allow . . . even in the name of national security,” the organizations said.

The Pentagon has agreed to lift the ban on the four reporters on Aug. 5. That, however, isn’t enough, the organizations said, noting that the reporters won’t be able to cover the rest of his suppression hearing, which reconvenes on July 12.

That hearing concerned whether or not Omar Khadr’s confessions should be thrown out because of abuse he suffered at the hands of his interrogators.

(H/T Georgetown SLB)

Federal Judge rules former Guantanamo detainee fit to stand trial

[JURIST] A federal judge on Thursday ruled that former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani is not suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and is therefore fit to stand trial. The issue of Ghailani’s psychological state arose after he requested to be exempt from prison strip searches because it triggers his PTSD, which he allegedly acquired while being interrogated at an overseas Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detention camp.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) denied the request, but decided to further investigate Ghailani’s PTSD claims. Kaplan concluded that the reason Ghailani has skipped hearings in the case is an effort to frustrate the prosecution rather than the consequence of psychological trauma from strip searches. Kaplan also stated that Ghailani is capable of standing trial and is of the mind to adequately defend himself.

Sept. 11 terrorism trial still in search of a venue

The Washington Post reports that the decision on where to hold the high-profile trials of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four others accused of being Sept. 11 conspirators has been put on hold and probably will not be made until after November’s midterm elections, according to law enforcement, administration and congressional sources.

In an unusual twist, the matter has been taken out of the hands of the Justice Department officials who usually make prosecutorial decisions and rests entirely with the White House, the sources said.

The delays are tied to the administration’s broader difficulties in closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — where Mohammed and the other detainees are held — and are unlikely to affect the outcome of a trial that officials vow will be held at some point. But people on all sides of the debate over whether Mohammed should be tried in federal court or before a military commission expressed frustration that nearly nine years after Sept. 11, justice for the attacks seems so elusive.

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One Response

  1. […] Pentagon ends Guantanamo reporters’ banThe New York Times reports that the Pentagon on Friday 9 July reversed itself and agreed to allow two reporters it had banned from Guantánamo Bay back onto the naval base after  a coalition of news organizations complained that the ban was unconstitutional. […]

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