[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin [JURIST news archive] will attend military commission hearings at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] beginning Wednesday, according to a statement [text] by Scheinin on Tuesday. Scheinin said that the United States invited him to attend hearings as a follow up to an earlier visit to Guantanamo in May. Scheinin expects to observe an evidentiary hearing for Yemeni Guantanamo detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [TrialWatch profile; JURIST news archive]. The US Supreme Court [official website] in October declined to review [JURIST report] an appeal by Hamdan challenging the constitutionality of the military commission system. Hamdan, allegedly a driver for Osama bin Laden, last year successfully challenged President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the commission system as initially constituted violated US and international law. Hamdan now faces trial [JURIST report] under the subsequently passed Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text; JURIST news archive]
In October, Scheinin called on the US to quickly prosecute or release terror suspects [JURIST report] detained at Guantanamo so that the detention center can be closed. In May, he said that the US has committed human rights violations [JURIST report] in its interrogations of terror suspects and by putting questionable restrictions on immigration. The UN News Centre has more.