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ACLU’s Romero Reacts to KSM Plea « The Washington Independent

This just in from Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, who’s at Guantanamo Bay to observe the military commissions that today entertained the guilty plea of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

“No one should be surprised that a system that allows for serial torture and abuse and holds detainees for years without charging them or granting them access to attorneys has led the defendants to capitulate and seek to plead guilty. It’s abundantly clear that a coerced guilty plea resulting from years of torture and abuse would never have been accepted in a legitimate court and should not be accepted here. Anyone who believes that this is a victory for American justice is sadly mistaken. History will show that any guilty pleas in these proceedings were the result of an inhumane, unjust process designed to achieve a foregone conclusion.

“Ironically, the one open legal question is whether or not entering guilty pleas under these flawed military commissions will allow the government to seek the death penalty. The fact that it’s still unclear whether the government can secure death sentences through guilty pleas just underscores how fundamentally flawed the process was from the outset.

“This has been a legal farce from the beginning to the bitter end. And perhaps most cynically, this flawed process will dump three guilty pleas into the lap of President Obama’s new Justice Department along with the question of whether or not any of these defendants are competent to offer these pleas after years of torture and abuse.”

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