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Possible Military Trials for Terrorist Suspects Criticized

As the use of military trials for suspected terrorists held Guantanamo Bay has grown, some possible legal concerns have been raised. Critics of military trials state the process is often slow, non-transparent, and procedural rules are unclear. For example, during the Bush administration only three military trials were held resulting in only one guilty plea. Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, stated, “Military commissions are antithetical to the administration of justice.” Critics of military trials plan to hold protests to support their cause during Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance for an oversight hearing this week.

Aides close to Holder say he is still an advocate of trials in civilian courts. Last month, Holder said that civilian courts is guided by “what’s best for the case, where can we bring the strongest case, bring into court the evidence we can rely on, minimize the use of evidence we don’t want to have presented.”

Proponents of military trials state that a military court protects classified information in ways that a civilian court cannot.  “It is inappropriate to give the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks the same constitutional rights as an American citizen,” Senator Lindsay Graham said last month. “It has never been done in the history of warfare, and now is not the time to start.” Other problems with civilian courts are the lack of case law on terrorism trials to deal with issues of a speedy trial and information obtained through questionable interrogation practices.

Read More at the Washington Post.


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