US considering terror tribunals with new rules

May 10th, 2009 - 12:11 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, May 9 (DPA) US military commissions to try terrorism suspects could be revived as early as this summer, but with increased legal protections for the accused, reported the Washington Post Saturday.
After President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the White House instituted a 120-day suspension of the military commissions.

Those commissions had been set up by the George W. Bush administration to try inmates at the holding facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, but had come under heavy criticism for placing more emphasis on protecting classified sources than on the rights of the convicted.

According to government officials cited in the paper, the administration will seek an additional 90-day suspension before bringing back the commissions, but with new guidelines to provide greater legal protections. The current suspension expires Friday.

Proposed rules would bar evidence obtained using coercion, tighten guidelines on testimony and give detainees more freedom in choosing their attorneys.

Human rights activists say they are concerned that reviving the commissions will be a return to policies that they say robbed detainees of basic legal rights. However, officials quoted say the commissions might be necessary, since some cases might not stand in regular federal or military courts.

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