For Immediate Release: December 8, 2008
Human Rights First urges military judge Stephen Henley to stay the military commission proceedings in Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s case today in light of his and his co-defendant’s request to plead guilty.
“Allowing these pleas to go forward in proceedings that are widely viewed around the world to be inherently unjust would be a hollow and short-sighted victory for the government,” says Elisa Massimino, Executive Director of Human Rights First. “Ultimately it would undermine the ability of the
The accused announced their intention to plead guilty at a pretrial hearing in
Human Rights First has long condemned the military commissions, which permit the use of coerced evidence and deny other fundamental due process protections. In a blueprint for the incoming administration, Human Rights First has called on Obama to suspend all pending military commission cases and to try suspects being detained in
“Dozens of terrorist suspects have been successfully prosecuted in recent years in our ordinary criminal courts, and many of them are now serving life sentences in federal prison,” said Devon Chaffee, Advocacy Counsel for Human Rights First who is currently on the ground at
“Accepting guilty pleas in a discredited system that is incapable of delivering justice will only further fuel terrorist propaganda and hamper efforts to nurture democracy and the rule of law around the world,” said Massimino. “Adhering to the rule of law is critical to confronting the threat of terrorism.”