Guantanamo detainees (Photo: Getty)
This from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where I’m watching the war crimes tribunals going through pre-trial motions for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the man accused of the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000.
His case is effectively a dry run for the “trial of the century” involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the September 11 attacks. In all the cases, the US government is seeking the death penalty. The question that hangs heavy over these war crimes tribunals – or Military Commissions as they are properly known – is whether they can ever really by construed as free and fair. Is it really credible that a man who was kept in black CIA prisons for nearly four years and repeatedly subjected to inhumane and degrading punishments – as the US government admits Al Nashiri was – can get a fair hearing from a trial jury comprised of hand-picked US army officers?