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Gitmo and American justice

The announcement by the Pentagon that it has charged six “high-value” detainees at Guantanamo Bay raises yet more questions about the conduct of the United States in the war on terror and its brand of justice (“Death penalty sought in 9/11 attacks,” Page 1, Feb. 12).

Can we really consider it a fair trial if the best the detainees can hope for is a lifetime locked away in Guantanamo Bay prison?

Can we really say justice is being carried out if the defendants will not be able to speak to their lawyers in private and evidence obtained through torture, such as waterboarding, will be admissible?

In addition, the government is seeking to pursue the death penalty against these men in a military commission system that fails to meet internationally acceptable standards.

The U.S. government should pursue justice for the victims and survivors of September 11 and security for its citizens within a framework of respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Failure to maintain this balance will result in further erosion of America’s standing in the world, and the quest for justice for the crimes of September 11 will have been dealt another serious blow.


Director, Mid-Atlantic Region

Amnesty International USA


Shariah in the UK

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, recently called for the application of Islamic law (Shariah) in Britain, saying it “seems unavoidable” and that “there is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law certain provisions of Shariah are already recognized in our society” (“Anglican head backs some Islamic rules,” Page 1, Feb. 8). These comments reveal the archbishop’s submissive ignorance. However, he was correct in asserting that elements of Shariah already have been implemented in Britain. This fact portends a dismal future awaiting our allies in Britain, and highlights the West’s self-imposed ignorance to this global threat.

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