Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gitmo Hearings Behind Closed Doors

English: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Aug. 13, 2004) ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The inaugural Periodic Review Board ("PRB") hearing of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mahmud al Mujahid, 33, scheduled for today excludes the press and will be conducted beyond closed doors, the Web site reports.

President Barack Obama established the PRB via an executive order in 2011 whose aim is to review the status of certain detainees at Guantanamo Bay to gauge whether continued incarceration is warranted in the interest of national security. The Dept. of Defense has indicated 71 detainees are in line for a PRB hearing to determine whether transfer or release may be allowed.

The decision to bar the press and public from the proceedings is a tone-deaf one for an administration that could only benefit from the transparency to which it often pays lip service.  The framers of the U.S. Constitution recognized in the Sixth Amendment the importance of public trials. At the very least, it should be incumbent on government attorneys to meet the burden of proving that the Constitution does not apply to the PRB hearings.

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