Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

DOD lacks policy on housing convicted Gitmo detainees, judge says

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba--The Department of Defense has no written policy on how detainees convicted in military commissions should be housed after they are sentenced despite a 2008 Pentagon directive to create a plan for such prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military judge said Wednesday.

"This is troubling," said Judge Nancy J. Paul, an Air Force Lt. Col., noting that two commissions are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay which could lead to the sentencing of two detainees this month. She said "no written plan, no written policy, or directive exists" about where to put convicted war criminals here.

The issue arose this week in the case of Ibrahim al-Qosi, a 50-year old Sudanese who cooked for al-Qaeda's inner circle in Afghanistan, and who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

As part of the deal, military prosecutors said Qosi could serve any time he gets in Camp 4, the minimum-security facility where detainees live communally.

The one person held at Guantanamo Bay who has been convicted of war crimes, Ali Hamza Ahmad al-Balul, Osama bin Laden's former media secretary, is kept apart from the other 175 detainees. Balul was held for a time after sentencing in late 2008 in the Camp 5 maximum security facility, but he was subsequently moved. Military officials here refuse to say where he is currently held.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which runs the detention facilities here, objected to the agreement reached by military prosecutors to keep Qosi in Camp 4. That part of the plea bargain was also backed by an order from the judge.

The task force, whose officials were not made aware of the agreement before military prosecutors signed it, was unwilling to implement it because the commander and others here believe the Geneva Conventions and military regulations prevent the co-mingling of convicted prisoners and the general detainee population.

In Aug. 2008, when another detainee, Salim Hamden, was sentenced, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs said in a memo on Hamden's incarceration that U.S. Southern Command, which includes Guantanamo, and the Army should jointly come up with a policy on convicted detainees. "This has not been done," the judge said.

In the absence of any policy it is unclear what officials are basing their position on Qosi on. And the lack of a written policy also raises questions about the basis on which Balul is kept in isolation, human rights activists said.

"Balul is serving a life sentence in isolation," said Andrea Prasow, senior counsel in Human Rights Watch's Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program. "So what is the rationale for that? Who decided it?"

Officials at Joint Task Force Guantanamo had no immediate comment.

Paul revised her order that Qosi be kept in Camp 4 and Wednesday instead said that it was "highly recommended" by the court that he not been kept in isolation. Earlier, a military prosecutor said that he misspoke if he created the impression that Qosi was guaranteed a place in Camp 4.

Defense lawyer Paul Reichler agreed, albeit reluctantly.

"It was not very short of a 100 percent guarantee, but not 100 percent," he said, adding that it was nonetheless understood that "the United States would make its very best effort."

A jury of 10 military officers is now deliberating, ostensibly to fix Qosi's sentence. They were given a range of 12 to 15 years within which they must stay, but the plea agreement may call for a much smaller term at Guantanamo Bay, or any other American facility.

The jurors were not made aware of the fact that there is a plea bargain, and that their finding could be moot. The Dubai 24-hour news network said the plea bargain calls for two years.

Reichler, in his closing argument, spoke to the panel as if there was no possibility Qosi could get out of Guantanamo before he is 62-years-old, if the panel imposes the minimum sentence. "He does the whole 12," he said at one point.

Military officials said Qosi's actual sentence may not be revealed for several months. They -- and defense counsel -- refused to discuss the plea, or its terms.

"It's a charade," said Jennifer Turner, of the ACLU, who said the administration wanted the appearance of a harsh sentence while avoiding criticism that it sanctioned something much less.

UPDATED 6 PM: The jury sentenced Qosi to 14 years.

By Peter Finn  | August 11, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Private security firm solicitations thriving in Afghanistan
Next: Israel gets State Department travel warning changed

Comments

George Bush thinking strikes again ? Put Chalabis in charge the savior of Iraq.

Posted by: peterroach | August 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Balul is serving a life sentence in isolation," said Andrea Prasow, senior counsel in Human Rights Watch's Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program. "So what is the rationale for that? Who decided it?"


Well I guess we should then go with and Eye for an eye. He killed others and should be thankful to still be breathing. However since his attorney has issues with this we should execute him today. PROBLEM SOLVED….

Posted by: askgees | August 11, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I have an idea about what you can do with them. Chop their heads off and feed them to the sharks.

Posted by: markd301 | August 11, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

A jury of 10 military officers is hearing evidence in Qosi's case and will sentence him this week. That sentence, however, will matter only if it is less than the sentence already agreed as part of the plea agreement. If it more, the jury's decision will be moot.


I say no deal. This is a waste of time and money. If there's been an agreement then the only thing left is for the judge to sign off on that agreement. Any trial is a game in which the defense wishes the y get a lighter sentence. If this happens he serves the lighter sentence but if they sentence him to a longer period it’s meaningless because of the deal. NO DEAL then. You can't have it both ways. If you feel like taking your chances then by all means do but if you are sentenced more severely oh well.

Posted by: askgees | August 11, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Let me save the taxpayers some money. In this email, I am providing the Pentagon, free of charge, the "plan" for housing convicted terrorist prisoners. Here it goes:

"Convicted prisoners shall serve their terms at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | August 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Now I get it....since the buffoons who have been running the military...that being the 4 stars and Gates....this answers why we're holding prisoners in Guantanamo for over 8 plus years now. They don't know how to try them, they don't know how to incarcerate them, and on and on. I'm surprised our military Generals can figure out how to feed them.

We (US tax payers) throw $ 1 trillion of year into this deep dark hole called military spending....what a complete and utter example of mismanagement and waste of piles and piles of hard earned tax payer money.

Cut military spending by at least 50%....the US military is too big to manage.

Posted by: go2goal | August 11, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse


Barry the incompetent boob Obama owns this mess. This is Obama's war now.

Barry the chickenhawk demander-in-chief who never served a day in uniform, has had 18 months now to deal with Guantanamo Bay prison. It was Barry the inept bunglers's first official act as president to sign a decree to close Gitmo. But now a year and a half into his dismal presidency, this headless chicken in the White House has accomplished nothing except get more of our guys killed.

Only 59 more American soldiers to be sent to their deaths by Barry in Afghanistan, and Barry will have killed more in Afghanistan in 1.5 years than Bush did during 8 full years as president.

Miserable failure Obama.

Posted by: screwjob19 | August 11, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

This mess is the legacy of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, and John Ashcroft, along with their neo-con facist buddies. Send the prisoners to Iraq and let the Kurds take care of them, at the expense of Bush and Cheney's estates. Wash our hands of this outrageous violation of everything this country holds dear. We are better than this.

Posted by: Chagasman | August 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

This whole article is crapola. We DO NOT have any "war criminals" in custody. All we have is a bunch of peasants who were sold to us for US dollars, or who we picked up in their neighborhoods to make it look like there is an "enemy" out there, or who fought back when we invaded their countries illegally and immorally.

THAT IS WHY WE CANNOT HAVE ANY REAL TRIALS IN REAL COURTS... WE HAVE TO RESORT TO MILITARY/KANGOOROO "COURTS".

What a load of sshit!

Posted by: jewishmother | August 11, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

screwjob19 wrote: "Barry the incompetent boob Obama... Barry the chickenhawk... never served a day in uniform... dismal presidency... headless chicken... Miserable failure Obama."
_______________________

I would bet my 401-K that you are a fat, bald, pink, veiny, smelly, lazy, alcoholic, smoker, wife-beating racist pig. Any investigation of your life would probably land you in prison.

Note: I am no fan of Obama. He is a war criminal and should be locked up for his crimes. I just cannot stand racist pigs.

Posted by: jewishmother | August 11, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Cook'em alive, bottle'm and distribute them as fireign aid.

Leave it to a Liberal to come up with a good idea.

Oh, then read'm their rights.

You have the right to be poached, broiled, bar b que'd, sauteed, or boiled.

You can remain silent or yu kan have yhour moudths duck taped.

Lite on salt. Easy on the pepper.

Posted by: jato11 | August 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Cook'em alive, bottle'm and distribute them as fireign aid.

Leave it to a Liberal to come up with a good idea.

Oh, then read'm their rights.

You have the right to be poached, broiled, bar b que'd, sauteed, or boiled.

You can remain silent or yu kan have yhour moudths duck taped.

Lite on salt. Easy on the pepper.

Posted by: jato11 | August 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Just another loose tie from the Bush regime.

Why can't republicans clean up their own messes, they're too lazy to hold any type of office.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | August 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

The prosecution and the article said that the guy was a cook. I'm not aware he killed anyone. On another subject, all of these eye for an eye folks typing away on here most likely think of themselves as good Christians. Everything that I know about Jesus says that he would be rolling over in his grave if he knew you were using those comments in his name.
-------------------------------------------
Well I guess we should then go with and Eye for an eye. He killed others and should be thankful to still be breathing. However since his attorney has issues with this we should execute him today. PROBLEM SOLVED….

Posted by: Liberal4CommonSense | August 11, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

There can only be a "conviction" if there is a real court. The kangaroo courts at gitmo are as rigged as the old Soviet Gulag courts.

Posted by: orange31 | August 11, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Welll ... cheney's plan was to keep them in GITMO forever ... out-of-sight out-of-mind.

What we should have done is teach them Spanish, cut their hair like Cubans and release them a few at a time in Cuba.

Posted by: knjincvc | August 11, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Why am I not surprised.

It seems everything done after 9/11 was effected within a present tense bubble, not a thought given to what the next step would be, the consequences, or ultimate resolution of questionable acts.

What was done, in all likelihood, is going to look worse and worse over time.

Posted by: awofw | August 11, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

It seems everything the DOD does these days is eithe half cocked or half baked and they love to pass the blame....when in fact the pentagon is under the auspices of aging old coots generals way past their prime and out of touch with today's World !

Posted by: fantazamaraz | August 11, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company