RealNews

DOD Readies Teams for Terror Trials

After nearly 18 months of deliberation, Pentagon officials are laying the final groundwork to hold military commissions for suspected al-Qaida members captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan and elsewhere. No detainees have yet been charged to face trial before a military commission as authorized by President George W. Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but behind the scenes, Department of Defense officials are mobilizing legal teams to prosecute and defend the cases. In addition, the president’s 2003 supplemental budget request includes funds for the construction of facilities to house military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. “We are ready to go now, if the president makes a decision,” says one senior Defense Department official. Yet even as work continues on the commissions, many questions remain about how they will be used and what protections defendants will receive. Full Story

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