Justice Considers Revisiting Detainee Hearings

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/15323398/15323384" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

The lawyers of Guantanamo Bay detainees say the Justice Department appears to be conducting a "massive" repeat of the military's combatant-status hearings originally held in 2004 and 2005.

Dahlia Lithwick, legal analyst with the online magazine Slate, says the original 558 hearings were to determine whether the prisoners were enemy combatants and whether they would go before a military tribunal.

However, many people questioned whether those hearings were fair. Now, the Justice Department says it might hold the hearings again, which is causing concern among the remaining 330 detainees and their lawyers.

The Pentagon has responded saying the hearings are only being considered.

Nonetheless, the Defense Department is building a portable, prefabricated judicial complex at Guantanamo, says Jackie Northam.

The new "Camp Justice" is a tent city that will house up to 500 people, including lawyers, judges and members of the media. The facility's courtrooms will allow officials to conduct up to five hearings at a time.

The $12 million facility was initially slated to be a $125 million project, Northam says. Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejected that proposal and ordered a revision. That revision is the tent complex going up next to where the detainees are housed.

Northam says the administration is struggling to shutter the Guantanamo Bay detention site and relocate its detainee population, despite promises by President Bush to close the prison.

Lithwick talks to Alex Chadwick about the latest legal developments. Northam talks to Madeleine Brand about the new judicial complex.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.