Legal Matters: Britons Held at Guantanamo Bay to Face Military Tribunals
The four Britons detained at Guantanamo Bay will face special military tribunals within a month, it was reported yesterday.
Military officials hearing the cases will presume that Moazzam Begg, from Sparkhill, Birmingham, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar are enemy combatants, The Guardian newspaper said.
The Pentagon said it was unable to confirm or deny the report.
The move comes despite a pledge by the US to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith last year that the Britons at Guantanamo Bay would not face military commissions.
Documents reportedly seen by the newspaper show that the four men will have no right to a lawyer during the 'combatant status review tribunals', at the prison camp on Cuba. Instead, a US military representative will pass the comments and arguments of the detainees on to superiors.
The documents also reportedly state that the tribunals will work on the assumption that the case against the four men is 'genuine and accurate'.
Second-hand information and hearsay, which would not be admissible in a normal US court, will be allowed.
'The tribunal is not bound by the rules of evidence such as would apply in a court of law,' the documents reportedly state.
'Instead, the tribunal shall be free to consider any information it deems relevant and helpful.'
Among the documents is a letter from Thomas Lee, the US deputy assistant attorney general, saying that the tribunals for the Britons will be completed by mid-October. …