For Immediate Release
James Freedland, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; firstname.lastname@example.org
ACLU Monitoring Unconstitutional Guantánamo Military Commissions Today
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba - The
American Civil Liberties Union is at Guantánamo monitoring the military
commission hearings of Omar Khadr scheduled for today. If his case
moves forward, Khadr will be the first child soldier in American
history to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes.
Jennifer Turner of the ACLU Human Rights Program will be observing today's proceedings.
Now 22, Khadr was 15 when he was
captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade
that killed a U.S. soldier. In a signed, nine-page affidavit, Khadr
charged that he was repeatedly threatened with rape during
interrogations while held both in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay.
Khadr's trial has raised serious concerns about its fairness, including
the use of testimony his attorneys say was coerced through torture.
Tainted by political interference,
the Guantánamo military commission proceedings have been marred by
ethical and legal problems from day one. Among other things, the
proceedings allow the admission of secret evidence, hearsay and
evidence obtained through torture. The Bush administration has admitted
that at least three detainees in its custody have been subjected to
The ACLU has been present as an
independent observer at nearly every commission hearing since 2004 and
continues to see no indication that the proceedings are fair, impartial
or in accordance with constitutional principles.
An ACLU video, along with a petition
calling on President-elect Obama to shut down Guantánamo and the
military commissions, is online at: closegitmo.com
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.