[R-G] Pentagon Weighs Military Tribunal Rule
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Wed Mar 22 23:58:01 MST 2006
Copyright 2006 Associated Press
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Associated Press Online
March 22, 2006 Wednesday 5:47 PM GMT
SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE
LENGTH: 338 words
HEADLINE: Pentagon Weighs Military Tribunal Rule
BYLINE: By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
The Pentagon is considering issuing a written rule barring the use of
any evidence obtained through torture in the military trials of
suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman, said that up to now it
had been the Pentagon's view that a written rule was unnecessary
because the military prosecutors had already declared that such
evidence would not be permitted. He reiterated that Pentagon policy
bans the use of torture, although critics and some Guantanamo Bay
prisoners have asserted that some interrogation methods amount to
Ten detainees at Guantanamo Bay face terrorism charges before U.S.
military tribunals the first since the aftermath of World War II. The
tribunals, officially called commissions, were set up for prisoners
captured by U.S. forces and their allies, mostly in Afghanistan in
the months following the U.S. invasion in October 2001.
"We have not, to this point, believed that a specific commission rule
was necessary, and in fact to some degree would erroneously suggest
that torture had actually occurred," Whitman said. "That said, we are
taking a look at whether or not issuing a formal instruction ... that
bars prosecutors from using this type of evidence is necessary" in
order to "eliminate any doubt from people's minds" that the U.N.
Convention Against Torture applies to the Guantanamo cases.
Lawyers for some Guantanamo Bay detainees have claimed that the
military tribunals are illegal because they could consider evidence
gained through torture or other forms of inhumane treatment of suspects.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the new Pentagon rule
had already been approved, though not yet publicly released. Whitman
said that a Pentagon officially had incorrectly told the newspaper
this, but that in fact final approval had not yet been given. The
Journal said the new rule was expected to be made public this week.
On the Net:
U.S. Military Commissions at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/
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