U.S. Military Plans Gitmo Legal Compound
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 18, 2006
Filed at 1:44 a.m. ET
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The U.S. military on Friday said it plans to build a $125 million compound at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base where it hopes to hold war-crimes trials for terror suspects by the middle of next year.
The compound, designed to accommodate as many as 1,200 people, would include dining areas, work spaces and sleeping accommodations for administrative personnel, lawyers, journalists and others involved in trials at the isolated detention center in southeast Cuba.
It would create a total of three courtrooms on the base to allow for simultaneous trials, and a separate high-security area to house the detainees on trial.
''We need to build more courtrooms, and we want to do multiple trials,'' said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman. He said the government hopes to begin construction as soon as possible to be ready for trials no later than July 1.
Human rights groups and foreign governments have called on the Bush administration to close Guantanamo, saying detainees are being held illegally, but the planned construction of new facilities underscores its permanence.
''This is a huge waste of taxpayer money,'' said Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents hundreds of Guantanamo detainees. ''They've been trying to try people for five years, and until they try somebody according to the Constitution, nothing's going to happen there.''
The MCA is unconstitutional on it's face. No trials can take place at Gitmo which anyone would consider more than a kangaroo court at present.
posted by Steve @ 2:12:00 AM