US Plans Guantanamo Courtroom

The United States is planning to build a large courtroom compound in the naval Guantanamo detention base to try terror suspects there, drawing fire from human rights groups.

US Plans Guantanamo Courtroom

"We want to build a courthouse with two large courtrooms," Pentagon spokesman, Navy Lieutenant Commander Chito Peppler told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The Pentagon has announced it would solicit bids for construction of the $125-million compound to try inmates by next July.

The US is holding some 435 prisoners in the notorious detention facility, only 10 of whom have been indicted.

Peppler said the US military also needed "more housing" in Guantanamo for the hundreds of lawyers and other staff participating in planned military commission trials for the detainees.

The military anticipates housing 800-1200 lawyers, staff, reporters and others expected to attend the trial proceedings.

A dining hall, offices, communications networks and parking lots would also be needed, according to the Pentagon.

The Guantanamo Bay has only one courthouse at the moment.

US President George W. Bush signed a law this year creating the military tribunals system to try terror suspects at the naval Bay.

Defense lawyers for the Guantanamo inmates say the military tribunals deny the detainees fundamental legal rights in violation of the US Constitution and international law.

Second-class Justice

The Pentagon plans to build courthouse to try the Guantanamo prisoners have immediately sparked a deluge of criticism from human rights groups, reported the Washington Post.

Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International, said the US proposed compound was "a permanent homage to its failed experiment in second-class justice".

The Center for Constitutional Rights also blasted the Pentagon plans.

"This is a huge waste of taxpayer money," said Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Center, which represents hundreds of Guantanamo detainees.

"They've been trying to try people for five years, and until they try somebody according to the Constitution, nothing's going to happen there."

The United States has faced international criticism over its indefinite detention of  Guantanamo detainees, many held for more than four years without charges.

Human rights groups and foreign governments have called on the Bush administration to close the notorious detention facility.

Amnesty International has called Guantanamo the "gulag of our time" and said it has become a "symbol of abuse and represents a system of detention that is betraying the best US values and undermines international standards."

The notorious prison was established in 2002 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A subsidiary of the controversial oil services giant Halliburton, once led by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, was awarded in June of last year a $30 million contract to build a new prison camp at the US naval base in Cuba.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16