Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wire: Obama Admin Now Allows Afghan Detainees to Question Detention

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that the Pentagon has put in place a new program under which hundreds of prisoners being held by the military in Afghanistan will be given the right to challenge their detentions.

Prisoners at Bagram military base are all to be given a U.S. military official to serve as their personal representative and a chance to go before new so-called Detainee Review Boards, to have their cases considered, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to be able to discuss a program that has not been formally announced, The Associated Press reported.

The initiative amounts to the first time prisoners will be able to call witnesses and submit evidence in their defense. There are some 600 detainees at the facility, some who have been held for up to six years, AP said.

An order creating the review boards was signed in July by Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn.

Some military officers serving in Afghanistan have already been assigned to the boards and some who will serve as personal representatives have already been identified, the official said. He declined to say whether any proceedings have already been held, AP said.

The guidelines came to light, AP noted, as the Obama administration is reviewing Bush-era detention policies and determining where to make changes.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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