OBSERVERS CONCERNED ABOUT LACK OF ACCESS TO KEY PARTICIPANTS
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- Aug. 23 -- Representatives of human rights and legal organizations invited to observe military commission proceedings at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba today expressed concern that they were being denied access to key participants in commission proceedings.
Representatives from the ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the denial impeded their ability to effectively assess the proceeding's compliance with international fair trial standards. Representatives from these organizations arrived at the base over the weekend to observe the commission trials starting Tuesday.
Defense officials declined a joint request by the groups to meet the presiding officer, prosecution attorneys, military commission translators and law clerks.
Officials also barred the observers from accompanying 53 members of the national and international press who were granted access to visit detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay.
Invited observers had received clearance to participate as courtroom observers when military commission proceedings begin.
The following are the representatives on Guantanamo and contact information at the organizations' U.S. offices:
Anthony Romero, Executive Director
[Contact: Gabe Rottman: 202-675-2328]
[Contact: Alistair Hodgett: 202-544-0200, x 289]
Human Rights First:
Deborah Pearlstein, Director, U.S. Law and Security Program
[Contact: David Danzig: 212-845-5252]
Human Rights Watch:
[Contact: Minky Worden: 212-216-1250]
Suzi Clark Director Communications Amnesty International Australia
Ph: 02 9217 7640
Mobile: 0413 028 191
Fax: 02 9217 7663
Email: [email protected]
Amnesty International Australia
29 Shepherd St, Chippendale NSW
Locked Bag 23, Broadway NSW 2007
Call 1300 300 920 or visit www.amnesty.org.au