I'm not going to let them get away with it. I plan to be in front my town's courthouse this morning. I strongly suggest you do the same. They will steamroll right over each and every last one of our rights if we don't. Do you want to wake up tomorrow wearing a shirt with a number and the words "Property of Enron Corp.???" Then get out there and demand they respect the 6th Amendment, LOUDLY, this very Tuesday!!!!
'DIRTY BOMB' SUSPECT CAN BE HELD INDEFINITELY
Mon Jun 10 2002 20:21:02 ET
The US citizen accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb in Washington faces an uncertain future in military custody.
Abdullah Al Mujahir has been moved from a civilian jail to a high-security US Navy prison in South Carolina after officials determined he was an "enemy combatant" who posed a serious and continuing threat to Americans.
But a US Justice Department official said there are no plans to make him face a military tribunal set up for alleged terrorists because these are only for non-Americans. Nor are there any plans to press criminal charges against the al Qaida suspect.
Under US legal rules, Al Mujahir can be held indefinitely an as enemy soldier, the official said.
US Attorney General John Ashcroft defended the position, claiming that Al Mujahir is being held under the laws of war and under a Supreme Court precedent which established that the military may detain a US citizen who has joined the enemy and entered America to carry out "hostile acts."
The decision has been criticised by civil rights groups who said the US Government only moved him into military custody after failing to provide any evidence to keep him detained in the civilian legal system.
Al Mujahir's access to a lawyer is also expected to be severely restricted now that he is in military custody.
It is the latest controversy surrounding the American treatment of al Qaida and Taliban suspects.
The US Government came under fire from civil rights groups across the globe when plans for military tribunals were first released last year.
Under the initial proposals, defendants would in some cases not get to hear the evidence against them.
The revised plan for the tribunals, released by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in March, give the accused many of the rights enjoyed by defendants in a normal trial.
But they will have limited right of appeal, and standards for evidence will be more relaxed.
Evidence which a "reasonable person" would consider relevant will be allowed to be heard in the commissions. This is a looser standard than US military and civilian courts, and is likely to give prosecutors more room for manoeuvre.
Hearsay evidence will be permitted, as will materials where the chain of custody cannot be fully established. US authorities said this was necessary due to the special circumstances of the war.
Suspects brought before the tribunals will have the right to a civilian lawyer as well as the military one assigned to them at the cost of the government.
They face the death penalty if convicted.
Mr Rumsfeld's promised that the tribunals will be "fair, balanced and just".
But William Shulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said: "We fear that in the proceedings undertaken by military commissions, justice may neither be done, nor seen to be done."
No tribunals have yet been scheduled.
U.S. Constitution: Sixth Amendment
Sixth Amendment - Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions
Amendment Text | Annotations
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence