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Astrid Essed: The military tribunals in Guantanamo

Dear Editor,
The recently started  military tribunals at the American military basis Guantanamo to persecute non-American citizens, who are accused of terrorism, are contrarily  with the American military legislation and the international judicial standards concerning a fair and independent trial.
In the first place, the distinction between American and non-American citizens is not only discriminative, but  implies in practice lower process-standards for non-American citizens.
In the second place,  a military lawyer is appointed for the defence and although the suspect has the right to choose a civilian lawyer, due to the high costs at the expense of the suspect, in  practice this implies a serious restriction on his right to choose his own lawyer.
In the third place the military autorities have the right to monitor private conversations between the laywer and his client, which is a serious violation of the right on confidentiality between lawyer and client.
In the fourth place the suspect can be denied to have access to the complete evidence, which is a denial of his basic right to confront the evidence used against him.
But the most alarming is the fact, that in contrary with the American military legislation, the suspect has no right to appeal to a civilian court,  but only to the American Secretary of Defense which is a flagrant violation of the right on independent jurisdiction.
It is therefore of the greatest importance, that the American autorities apply the principles of International Law concerning a fair trial.

Astrid Essed

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