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Obama to relaunch military tribunals for terror suspects

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

President Barack Obama is set to announce that the US will relaunch military tribunals with new legal protections for some of the 241 detainees currently being held at Guantánamo.

The Associated Press reports that President Obama's decision, which is expected to be announced Friday, is apt to renew controversy over the military tribunal system established for detainees under the Bush administration. Obama had ordered a 120-day freeze of the system just days into his presidency in order to review the procedures, which had been criticized for failing to provide due process safeguards to detainees.

The tribunal system – set up after the military began sweeping detainees off the battlefields of Afghanistan in late 2001 – has been under repeated challenges from human rights and legal organizations because it denied defendants many of the rights they would be granted in a civilian courtroom.
An administration official familiar with Obama's decision said between 10 and 20 of the 241 detainees currently at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be tried by military commissions. Thirteen other detainees — including five charged with helping orchestrate the Sept. 11 attacks — already have been moved into the system and are expected to be tried there.
The rest of the detainees would either be released, transferred to other nations or tried by civilian prosecutors in U.S. federal courts, an official said. It's also possible that some could continue to be held indefinitely as prisoners of war with full Geneva Conventions protections, according to another senior U.S. official.

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