Guantánamo Bay: How tribunals work

Elana Schor

The Guardian

How do the Guantánamo tribunals work?

The trials for terrorist suspects devised by the Bush White House give significant advantages not seen in civilian courts to Pentagon prosecutors.

Inflammatory evidence, such as the videotape comparing al-Qaida to the Nazis that was played at the trial of Salim Hamdan, is permissible.

Hearsay evidence derived from third parties is also acceptable in the Guantánamo courtroom.

Violent interrogations can also produce admissible evidence unless a judge rules otherwise.

Defendants are presumed guilty, not innocent, at the outset of the military tribunals.

Evidence is often withheld from defence lawyers until the very last minute.

Perhaps the most extreme difference between Guantanamo tribunals and other courts is the consequence of acquittal: the US military has laid the groundwork to detain even those not convicted.

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