Dozens of Gitmo detainees finally get day in court
Judge Gladys Kessler Bio (Clinton Judge Who Is Siding With Terrorist Sympathizers)
WASHINGTON – In courtrooms barred to the public, dozens of terror suspects are pleading for their freedom from the Guantanamo Bay prison, sometimes even testifying on their own behalf by video from the U.S. naval base in Cuba.
Complying with a Supreme Court ruling last year, 15 federal judges in the U.S. courthouse here are giving detainees their day in court after years behind bars half a world away from their homelands.
The judges have found the government's evidence against 30 detainees wanting and ordered their release. That number could rise significantly because the judges are on track to hear challenges from dozens more prisoners.
Scooped up along with hard-core terrorist suspects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, these 30 detainees stand in stark contrast to the 10 prisoners whom the Obama administration targeted for prosecution Friday for plotting the Sept. 11 and other terrorist attacks. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of 9/11, and four of his alleged henchmen are headed for a federal civilian trial in New York; five others, including a top suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole, will be tried by a military commission.
More detainees are expected to soon be added to the prosecution list. But there will still be plenty of cases left among the 215 detainees now at Guantanamo to keep the judges here busy as they work to clear a legal morass the Bush administration created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Bush administration Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once promised Guantanamo held "the worst of the worst." The judges here have rejected pleas for release from eight detainees, but they have concluded the government doesn't even have enough evidence to keep 30 other detainees behind bars.