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U.S. Officials Formulating Plans for Military Tribunals in Cuba

With the Pentagon preparing recommendations on which detainees to send to military tribunals, authorities at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have begun renovating several old office buildings to serve as courtrooms. Officials in Cuba also are informally discussing plans for building a death row and an execution chamber in case any military trials result in death sentences in the U.S. war on terror. In Washington, authorities cautioned that it probably would not be until later this summer, at the earliest, before President Bush acts on the recommendations from the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions and signs an executive order finding a “reason to believe” that some of the 680 detainees should be charged with crimes and ordered to stand trial. The commission’s office is preparing its recommendations, and authorities expect that only a handful of detainees would initially be sent to military court. “They will recommend, probably, a small group of people that they will forward to the president,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind said Monday. Once the president acts, she said, the newly appointed prosecutors and defense-lawyer teams will begin preparing their cases for trial – in all likelihood at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Full Story

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