Amnesty Labels U.S. Trials Travesty of Justice

Reuters, July 5, 2003

LONDON – Amnesty International has denounced the planned U.S. military trials for six prisoners at “Camp X-Ray” in Guantanamo Bay as a “travesty of justice.”

Information about U.S. human rights violations and related issues is included in Religion News Blog for the following reasons:

Apologetics Index deals with cults, sects, and related issues – including religious freedom and other human rights.

America’s goverment frequently accuses countries (including, for example, France and Germany) that protect their citizens against destructive and/or fraudulent cults of violating ‘human rights.’ In addition, the USA even threathens those countries with economic boycotts should they not accept America’s views on these issues.

This makes the USA the only country in the world that attempts to strong-arm other countries into accepting its views on the cults it supports – a primary reason why this issue is addressed by the publishers of Apologetics Index.

Ironically, while America chides other countries for alleged human righs violations, Washington consistently and deliberately refuses to address America’s dismal record of human rights violations. The Bible condemns the use of such differing measures.

As Christians, the publishers of Apologetic Index believe that they (and other Christians) should address human rights issues.

The publishers of Apologetics Index agree with those who believe that America’s attitude toward international law – including its fight against the International Criminal Court, its use of torture, and its inconsistent application of the Geneva Conventions – presents a serious threat to the international community.

As members of Amnesty International, the publishers of Apologetics Index are outspoken critics of America’s manifold human rights violations. They encourage their fellow Christians to address these issues, keeping in mind the Bible’s two great commandments.

“We deeply regret that the President has taken his country one step closer to running trials that will flout basic standards of justice,” the human rights group said in a statement late on Friday.

President Bush has designated six foreign captives in what he calls the war on terrorism as eligible to be tried for U.S. military commissions.

Britain’s Foreign Office announced on Friday that two Britons — Moazzam Begg, 35, and Feroz Abbasi, 23, — would be among the six suspects, whose names and nationalities U.S. defense officials have refused to reveal.

Charges set out in the Pentagon’s instructions for the trials could bring the death penalty.

“Any trial before these military commissions would be a travesty of justice,” Amnesty said.

“We urge the U.S. administration to rethink its strategy before it causes any further affront to international fair trial norms and any more damage to its own reputation.

Amnesty criticized the commissions, citing the use of a lower standard of evidence that would be admissible in an ordinary court, including hearsay evidence.

It also drew attention to Pentagon guidelines which do not expressly exclude statements extracted under coercive methods.

Officials said there was evidence the six had attended “terrorist” training camps and may have been involved in financing Saudi-born Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network — blamed by Washington for the September 11 attacks against the United States.

Military officials have had preliminary discussions about building an execution chamber at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. navy base, where about 600 prisoners are being held, but say talk of execution is premature.

The Foreign Office said on Friday they were opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and had made this view clear to Washington.

The U.S. chief defense lawyer for Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Will Gunn, told the BBC’s Newsnight program late on Friday that he faced many challenges.

“We will have a cultural divide which will take us time to overcome, if we’re ever able to overcome it. So I see that as a fundamental challenge,” he said.

But he said he had faith in his staff who would work to provide the “very best possible defense.”

“This country has long said we’re about justice being done,” he added. “That’s what the principle of Americanism means to many people.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday July 5, 2003.
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