Letter from UK Citizen to Paul Wolfowitz re: Concern Over Status of Detainees

Letter is from a 29 year old British citizen, with copies sent to Colin Powell, Jack Straw (UK Home Secretary), William Farish (US Ambassador to UK), John Howard (PM of Australia) and his local MP (Member of Parliament) in the UK. The letter voices concern over treatment of detainees in US custody and the military commissions used to try them. Cites specifically UK and Australian citizens in custody.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

.'t.'. ~ '.

30 July 2003 Paul Wolfowitz Deputy Secretary ofDcfence
fax: 00 1 703 697 7374
Dear Deputy Secrotary ofDefcncc.
I am a 29 year old British citizen who is deeply concerned about continuing human rights violations and the violation ofinternational judicial and custody standards perpetrated by the US at Guantanamo Bay.
I call OD your Government to repeal the Military Order on the Detention, Treatment. and
Trial OfCertaiD Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism of 13th November 2001. This
order is illegal under intcmati()()al law and contradicts UN resolutions ruling that "any
measure taken to combat terrorism must be in accordance with intcmationalla'W".
S~ificallythe military commissions empowered under the order wOUld contravene various
international stmdards including:

They wilJ Jack indcpcncUnce from The Executive almost totally.

There will be no right ofappeaJ to an independent and impartial court. This i... egregious
since the conunissions can pass death sentences. Under international standards capital
cases must be guaranteed fairness by governments. this would include a right ofappeal.

The right to choice ofcounsel and effective defence is restricted. Without payment only
military lawyers will be provided. Defence la\\l)'Cl'S will not have access to clllSllified
documents that would be pertinent to the defence. Lawycr-cUent confidentiality is not

Since US citizens cannot be subject to the Military Order. the Order violates 1he basic
principle prohibiting discrimination based on natioDalility.

Additionally I deeply Rlgret 1hat now six detainees have aetually bcc:n named under the Military Order. including Fero,; Ali Abbasi. Moazzam Begg. David Hicks and three others who remain incommuniQdo.
NOlle ofthese six dczainces should be transferred before military commission. Justice wiU neither be done, nor be seen to be dane in commission proc:ccdings.
The six, and all other detainees at Guantanamo Bay, must eiah.e:r be promptly charged with recognizibJe criminal offences and brought to fair trial under int'c;mationaJ standards, or immediately and Wlcooditionally released.
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I nom that deals bave been broketed by Ihc UK and AU5traJian administrations to guarantee that the death pen4lty will not be sQUsht against UK or Australian nationals... Any restriction orlbo use ofjudiciaJ killinS is good. but I vigorouslymaiDtain that no detainee regardless of race or nationality should be lubjec:t to the threat or implementation ofcapital punishment. I oppose to the Usc oftho death penalty under any circumstances· including in cas.:s of tenorism c:onvictions.
In the case ofpica &rranicmen1S for detainees, which could mitigate against the death penalty. I am deeply concerned that any plea arTansemenls made will be unfair and viewed with skepticism. given the coercive conditions under 'Which dc1ainecs have been beld over such a prolonged time.
The eonduct ofth. US with regard to Guantanamo Bay is deeply repettablc. It b:u:Uy undermines the US's claims to be ccmmitted to intcmationallaw. 'lbo MiUtuy Order, the camp atOuantanamo Bay and the: coaduct of,US personnel at that camp is a disgrace and the height ofbypoc:risy .
Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to your prompt response.
Yours sincerely.
cc: Jack Str8w (UK) John Howard (Aus) Wjlliam Farish Colin Powell Stepben Timms MP (UK)