Saturday | July 05, 2003
Is this American justice?
By Steve Gilliard
Outrage over plight of Guantanamo detainees
Martin Bright, Kamal Ahmed and Peter Beaumont
The two British terrorist suspects facing a secret US military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay will be given a choice: plead guilty and accept a 20-year prison sentence, or be executed if found guilty.
American legal sources close to the process said that the prisoners' dilemma was intended to encourage maximum 'co-operation'.
The news comes as Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, prepares to urge US Secretary of State Colin Powell to repatriate the two Britons. He will say that they should face a fair trial here under English law. Backed by Home Secretary David Blunkett, Straw will make it clear that the Government opposes the death penalty and wants to see both men tried 'under normal judicial process'
So we're going to have what in essence is a drumhead courtsmartial for these men, despite the opposition of our allies, the legal questions about the whole proceedings and the fact the whole thing reeks of a kangaroo court.
There's no point in going on about how this makes a mockery of the constitution or could cost Americans their lives. Anyone not blinded by the desire for revenge would understand this.
The United States has a justice system which can deal with these men in open court. Using this system of trials is little better than murder. The only way to redeem our ideals is to use a system of justice no one can dispute. These trials are nothing close to that.
The idea is to get Osama and friends in an open court to defend their monsterous deeds, not to murder them in secret. If that was the goal, why waste the money for Gitmo. Just let Delta Force execute them and toss them in a ditch.
Why pretend to have a trial which is little better than Chinese or Soviet justice? If this country stands for anything, it should be the right to a fair trial, even for the most odious and despicable of people.