Human rights groups in the US have accused President Barack Obama of backtracking on his reform agenda. The criticism comes after he announced he is to restart the system of military trials or commissions for foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.
Right at the start of Obama’s administration, the Democratic president said he would close the prison within a year. That is not about to change but Rights groups say he’s sending out confused signals.Geneve Mantri, Amnesty International said: “It was pretty clear the standard he held during the campaign, was pretty clear the standard that the American people thought he’d bring to the White House. It was clear from his announcements soon after he reached the White House what he was going to do – and now it is somewhat confusing what the administration’s standard is or what their policies are.” Washington says the revived trials are needed to protect national security and will have changed rules such as barring hearsay evidence and statements made under harsh interrogation. Lt-Commander Brian Mizer, who is a military defence lawyer explained: “What is particularly disappointing is the fact that the government is now openly stating that the reason that it is reviving the Commission’s process is because it is going to be hard to obtain convictions in traditional courts and this would be the first time in our republic that we have created a court system to obtain convictions.” The decision is the second in less than a week to anger Obama’s liberal supporters. He recently banned the publication of photos showing alleged abuse of prisoners in case they endangered US troops abroad.