Human Rights Groups Shut Out of Attending Guantanamo Trials
The Pentagon has refused requests of three human rights groups to attend the upcoming military tribunal trials at Guantanamo. The reason given was "limited courtroom seating and other logistical issues.”
In a letter sent last week to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Amnesty International, Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) and Human Rights Watch protested their exclusion from the proceedings and urged the U.S. government to rethink its position.
Despite the Bush administration's promise that the commissions would be open to the public, the Pentagon has refused to grant any of these organizations permission to attend the proceedings. Over the last month, the Department of Defense has responded to written requests from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, with a brief statement that it intended only to provide seating for select members of the press and for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
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