US lawless trials menace UK ties

The US decision to bring death penalty charges against six men suspected of orchestrating 9/11 attacks could strain relations with UK.

UK authorities have raised their voices against US Gitmo detention camp and the legally flawed system of military tribunals.

Human rights activists have also expressed concern over the US announcement to put the six men on trial.

The decision to use Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others as guinea-pigs in a constitutionally dubious legal proceeding is likely to trigger a firestorm of anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world, according to The Independent.

Concerns were raised of political interference by the White House in the military’s decision to go to trial in the middle of an election campaign in which the Republican frontrunner, John McCain, has made the fight against al-Qaeda central to his election bid.

Vincent Warren, the executive director head of Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many Guantanamo detainees said, “What we are looking at is a series of show trials by the Bush administration that are really devoid of any due process considerations.”

Britain’s former attorney general Lord Goldsmith criticized the legally flawed system of US military tribunals, set up to try non-US citizens and which one law lord likened to “kangaroo courts”.

Human rights lawyers regard the tribunals as an affront to natural justice because the evidence against the suspects has been secured through torture or unlawful detention.

Even Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have called for the closure of the Guantanamo prison camp which still holds 275 inmates, many of whom have been unlawfully detained for more than five years.

Britain is opposed to capital punishment and has censured the treatment of detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.