Ex-Prosecutor Behind Gitmo Dismissals?
The controversial resignation of a military prosecutor who made accusations of ethical and legal issues involving detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba might be a factor in the dismissals of five terrorism-related cases at the detention center.
To much fanfare, Col. Darrel Vandeveld stepped down in September, alleging that evidence found against a man he was prosecuting, 24-year-old Mohammed Jawad, who is accused of tossing a grenade into a military jeep at a bazaar in Kabul in 2002, was withheld from his defense attorneys, The Post's Peter Finn reported.
"I am highly concerned, to the point that I believe I can no longer serve as a prosecutor at the Commissions, about the slipshod, uncertain 'procedure' for affording defense counsel discovery," Vandeveld wrote in a court filing upon his resignation.
Maj. David J.R. Frakt, a military defense lawyer for other cases, told The New York Times that Vandeveld's accusations clearly had an impact. "He said there are systemic problems across the board and he's on all these cases," Frakt told the newspaper.
But Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said the dismissals were unrelated to Vandeveld but rather initiated because evidence "is being more thoroughly analyzed," according to The Associated Press.
In an August e-mail obtained by The Los Angeles Times, Vandeveld said he was having "grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country."
"I no longer want to participate in the system, but I lack the courage to quit. I am married, with children, and not only will they suffer, I'll lose a lot of friends," he wrote.
He resigned the following month.
By Derek Kravitz |
October 22, 2008; 7:30 AM ET
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