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Guantanamo prosecutor denies torture, stresses transparency of trials

[JURIST] The chief prosecutor for the military commissions [US DOD materials] at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] denied Tuesday that detainees at the facility were tortured, but acknowledged the vagueness of the definition of torture itself. USAF Col. Morris Davis [official profile, PDF] of the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions [DOD Directive 5105.70 text, PDF] will prosecute 10 Guantanamo detainees. Davis said in an AP interview before a talk [archived webcast] at Case Western University law school in Cleveland that the military considers its interrogation tactics acceptable, although he granted that some people might disagree and that there was a large “gray area” between acceptable and unacceptable tactics. He noted that laws dealing with torture generally define it according to its effects, such as significant physical or emotional pain, not on specific methods of interrogation.

Davis said in his talk that the media would be allowed to cover cases when they come to trial in Guantanamo, with an exception for any evidence deemed classified. He stressed the importance of transparency in the proceedings, a reflection of the frequent criticism of the military commissions established by the Pentagon by human rights activists who claim a lack of basic protections and rights for defendants. There are still concerns over whether Guantanamo detainees who remain uncharged will receive a full, fair, and open trial, and whether generally-accepted American criminal justice standards will apply. AP has more. The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides local coverage.

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