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GITMO EYES POSSIBLE EXECUTION CHAMBER

The Associated Press reports, "Guantanamo officials are ready to provide a courtroom, a prison and an execution chamber if the order comes to try terror suspects at the base in Cuba, the mission commander said."

Although no new directive has been given and no plans have been approved, a handful of experts are looking at what it will take to try, imprison and, if need be, execute detainees accused of links to Afghanistan's fallen Taliban regime or to the al-Qaida terror network...Last month, officials named Army Col. Frederic Borch III the chief prosecutor and Air Force Col. Will Gunn as chief defense lawyer for the proposed trials. The Pentagon has listed 18 war crimes and eight other offenses that could be tried, including terrorist acts, and has issued rules for the tribunals.Borch said he was looking at prosecuting at least 10 possible cases before a tribunal.Some 680 detainees from 42 countries are in Guantanamo, categorized as unlawful combatants by the U.S. government. It has refused demands from human rights organizations to recognize them as prisoners of war. They have no constitutional rights as non-U.S. citizens being held outside U.S. territory, and none have been formally charged or allowed access to attorneys.The cases would be decided by a panel of three to seven military officers who act as both judge and jury. Convictions could be handed down by a majority vote; a decision to sentence a defendant to death would have to be unanimous.
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