Gitmo Detainees' Military Tribunals Mired in a Host of Snags

Untested system for 9/11 suspects stalling
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 7:50 AM CDT
Turkish demonstrators wearing prisoner outfits with banners that read, 'Guantanamo prisoner', on their chests, take part in a protest against the U.S. in Istanbul.   (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
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(Newser) – Six men detained in Guantanamo in connection with the 9/11 attacks were charged with war crimes two months ago—they were to be the first defendants in President Bush's never-tested military commission system. But not a single one has even met their counsel yet because military lawyers are in extremely short supply. It's one of several snags that have confounded efforts to get on with the military trials, the New York Times reports.

As in any legal system without any precedents, resolving detainees' claims—such as allegations of torture—has taken time. Worst of all are problems the defendants themselves are grappling with: one detainee has become so psychologically damaged in Guantanamo that he can offer his lawyers no help.