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As Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, faces a Gitmo tribunal, the world will put the US on the stand for torture.
“These are not run-of-the-mill Guantanamo detainees,” said Fordham Law School’s Greenberg, who also authored the book “The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days.” “These are ‘high-value detainees.’”
Classified as “enemy combatants,” detainees like Mohammed can be held as long as the US is engaged in armed conflict in the war on terror, the government contends. Under the laws of war, the Guantanamo prisoners don’t even have to be charged or given trials, according to the government.
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That’s a sticking point for Guantanamo critics who say indefinite detention renders the military trials little more than a façade of justice.
“If the defendants are acquitted or complete their sentences, they should be released. This is a basic principle of any justice system,” Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel for Human Rights Watch and former defense attorney with the Office of Military Commissions, wrote in an email.
“The US government’s argument that there is some undefined, decades-long armed conflict is simply wrong,” Prasow said. “More important, holding anyone after he completes his sentence or after acquittal would send a strong message to the world that these trials are simply political trials.”