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Constitutional Law

President Obama Lifts Ban on Gitmo Trials, Says New Safeguards Are In Place

Posted Mar 7, 2011 4:59 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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President Barack Obama still intends to close the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. But in the meantime, he has eliminated a ban he imposed nearly two years ago on conducting military trials of detainees held at the facility.

His executive order today apparently anticipates that military tribunals of some of the remaining 170 detainees could occur at Guantanamo Bay while trials of others are held in federal court, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder say the new regime incorporates additional protections, such as a prohibition on using statements obtained as a result of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Meanwhile, resuming military trials will, the president says, "broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions and ensure the humane treatment of detainees."

The Associated Press predicts that the first trial at Guantanamo under the new regime likely would be of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. He is accused of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and has been held at Gitmo since 2006.

Additional coverage:

BBC News: "Obama to restart Guantanamo military commissions"

CNN: "Obama orders resumption of military tribunals at Guantanamo"

The Hill: "Obama to resume military commission trials for Guantánamo detainees"

The Telegraph: "Barack Obama lifts ban on Guantánamo Bay trials "

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