Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Human Rights

They shoulda seen this one coming.

A U.S. judge ruled on Monday that the Guantanamo military tribunals for terrorism suspects are unconstitutional.

In a setback for the Bush administration, U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green also ruled the prisoners at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have constitutional protections under the law.

“The court concludes that the petitioners have stated valid claims under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and that the procedures implemented by the government to confirm that the petitioners are ‘enemy combatants’ subject to indefinite detention violate the petitioners’ rights to due process of law,” Green wrote.

I’ve mentioned this a number of times in the past.  You simply cannot set up a system which imprisons people indefinitely without a trial.  If the Bush administration had afforded these prisoners some kind of representation or given them a hearing of some type then this ruling might have gone in their favor.  But if I was this judge I would have made the same decision.  Let us not forget that a presumption of innocence is the bedrock of our legal system, and these men are ebtitled to it as well.  Let me put it this way, if a serial killer was found in a pool of blood, holding a blood-soaked knife, surrounded by the corpses of children he just mutiliated, he would still be granted the presumption of innocence, and a case would have to be made against him.  This is a right that is absolutely inviolable. 

And I understand the temptation to say, “Hey, fuck those guys.  They were on the battlefield trying to kill Americans.” Believe me, I have the same feelings sometimes.  But if we set up a system by which we imprison people without trial, ostensibly forever, then we lower ourselves to the level of those we are fighting against.  We’re better than them, and one of the ways we demonstrate it is in the way we act.  And I think that too often in this conflict out government has not acted the way it should, and it will hurt us in the long run to some degree.

Posted by Lee on 01/31/05 at 10:52 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • Permalink

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