The US defence department has
released a manual with new rules for upcoming trials of terrorism suspects.
rules, which the department says are fair, would allow suspects to be convicted
and possibly executed on the basis of hearsay evidence and some coerced
the 238-page manual could spark a fresh confrontation between the Bush
administration and the Democratic-led Congress over the treatment of terror
manual states that the defence must notify the judge if it expects to disclose
classified information and give the government reasonable opportunity to review
it and respond.
manual prohibits the use of statements obtained through torture and
“cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as prohibited by the US
it allows some evidence obtained through coercive interrogation techniques if
obtained before December 30, 2005, and deemed reliable by a
and the White House agreed last year that hearsay – a witness quoting someone
else – can be allowed as evidence if a judge rules that the testimony is
to the manual, this is necessary because witnesses, such as military personnel
or foreigners, may not be available to testify.
manual states: “As a general matter, hearsay shall be admitted on the same
terms as any evidence.”
outlining the maximum punishment for various acts, the new manual includes the
death penalty for people convicted of spying or taking part in a
“conspiracy or joint enterprise” that kills someone.
maximum penalty for aiding the enemy – such as providing ammunition or money –
is life imprisonment.
are almost 400 people being held at the military's prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Hemingway, a legal adviser to the Pentagon's office on commissions, said US officials think that with
the evidence they have now, they could eventually charge 60 to 80 detainees.
department is currently planning trials for at least 10.