Skip to comments.Executions May Be Carried Out at Gitmo (lethal injections)
Posted on 02/12/2008 5:33:22 PM PST by jdm
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- If six suspected terrorists are sentenced to death at Guantanamo Bay for the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. Army regulations that were quietly amended two years ago open the possibility of execution by lethal injection at the military base in Cuba, experts said Tuesday.
Any executions would probably add to international outrage over Guantanamo, since capital punishment is banned in 130 countries, including the 27-nation European Union.
Conducting the executions on U.S. soil could open the way for the detainees' lawyers to go to U.S. courts to fight the death sentences. But the updated regulations make it possible for the executions to be carried out at Guantanamo.
David Sheldon, an attorney and former member of the Navy's legal corps, said an execution chamber at Guantanamo would be largely beyond the reach of U.S. courts.
"I think that's the administration's idea, to try to use Guantanamo as a base to not be under the umbrella of the federal district courts," he said. "If one is detained in North Carolina or South Carolina in a Navy brig, one could conceivably file a petition of habeus corpus and because of where they're located, invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court."
The condemned men could even be buried at Guantanamo. A Muslim section of the cemetery at Guantanamo has been dedicated by an Islamic cultural adviser, said Bruce Lloyd, spokesman for the Guantanamo Naval Station. Among those buried elsewhere at the cemetery are U.S. servicemen.
When two Saudis and a Yemeni committed suicide at Guantanamo in 2006, military officers said the men could be buried at the cemetery, but the remains were instead sent back to their homelands.
Up until recently, experts on military law said, it was understood that military regulations required executions to be carried out by lethal injection at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
But in January 2006, the Army changed its procedures for military executions, allowing "other locations" to be used. The new regulations say that only the president can approve an execution and that the secretary of the Army will authorize the location.
"Military executions will be by lethal injection," the regulations say.
The last U.S. military execution was in 1961, when President Kennedy signed off on the hanging of Army Pfc. John A. Bennett for the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl.
Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann refused to discuss details on executions when he announced Monday the Pentagon was charging the six Guantanamo detainees and seeking the death penalty.
"We are a long way from determining the details of the death penalty, and when that time comes ... we will follow the law at that time and the procedures that are in place," Hartmann said.
Eugene Fidell, a Washington defense attorney and expert on military law, said Guantanamo Bay could be an execution site, but added that the U.S. would face an international outcry.
"It would be highly controversial because a lot of the world simply doesn't believe in the death penalty any more," Fidell said.
The Bush administration has instructed U.S. diplomats abroad to defend its decision to seek the death penalty for the six men by recalling the executions of Nazi war criminals after World War II.
A four-page cable sent to U.S. embassies and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press says that execution as punishment for extreme violations of the laws of war is internationally accepted.
The cable points to the 1945-46 Nuremberg war crimes trials in Germany. Twelve of Adolf Hitler's senior aides were sentenced to death at the trials, though not all were executed in the end.
No death chamber is known to exist at Guantanamo, but Scott Silliman, a former Air Force lawyer and who is now a Duke University professor, said the military may decide to build one there. The 2006 Army regulations also call for a viewing room to the death chamber, where at least two news media representatives would be witnesses.
The trial for the six detainees is still months away. And given the slow pace of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, verdicts are unlikely before President Bush leaves office next January.
The accused include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of Sept. 11; Mohammed al-Qahtani, whom officials have labeled the 20th hijacker; and Waleed bin Attash, who investigators say selected and trained some of the 19 hijackers.
Many support the use of the death penalty for men blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks.
"If these guys are found guilty, I can't think of any other case more appropriate for the death penalty," said Charles "Cully" Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "An overwhelming majority of Americans support the death penalty."
Michael Khambatta of the International Committee of the Red Cross said his organization would approve the death penalty only when there are "procedural and judicial guarantees that meet international standards."
Khambatta, who is the deputy head of the ICRC's Washington delegation, declined to comment publicly on whether the ICRC considers the U.S. war-crimes trials fair.
What is the legal means of execution in Cuba? After all, Guantanamo is still Cuban territory we lease.
I prefer taking them half way home and letting them swim the rest of the way. If the weather is good and the water warm, they should make to shore about.... never.
That’d do it, heated (of course) to say, 180 degrees.
Or Drano. Drano mixed with mercury and maybe a big ol’ serving of ground-up Jimmy Dean Hot sausage patties.
Hell, I can think of at least a dozen hilarious things to inject into those buggers that’d be guaranteed to be lethal.
Like molen steel.
Good question. With Castro it could be anything, but it probably starts with torture (real, not "waterboarding") and ends with a laughing executioner.
I never understood this lethal injection stuff...
“We’re gonna kill ya but....
we don’t want to hurt ya!”
NO LETHAL INJECTION FOR THESE MURDERING ISLAMIC BASTARDS!! First, hang them in the public square. Then hang them upside down with pigsfeet and snouts hanging from their bloated torsos. Then, as a finishing touch, allow any Americans wishing to urinate on the bastards’ carcasses as they hang there and show this to the Islamic world—WE PISS ON YOU!! YOU’RE NEXT!!
In case anyone thinks this is overdoing it, you may recall that’s precisely what was done to Mussolini and his son in law as Italy fell.
Nah. Celebrate diversity. Decapitation with a dull sword.
George Washington wouldn’t let Major Andre face the firing squad as he requested. He was a spy and was hanged accordingly. These terrorists deserve less.
Stake ‘em out and let the sows get ‘em.
This sort of thing used to be handled much more expeditiously, even under Democrat administrations. Remember Operation Pastorius? Two groups of four Krauts arrived in Long Island and Florida by U-boat on June 12 and 15 1942 with explosives and money. The Long Island group was spotted, and the FBI was looking all over for them. Then a couple of the group turned themselves in, the others were rounded up, a military court convicted them, the Supreme Court reviewed the case, and the switch was thrown on six of them on August 8th. Less than two months!
Oh, and the fried Krauts were buried in a potters field in Anacostia. Which brings up the question of how to dispose of the bodies in the current case. We should make sure their remains do not lead parades in Pakistan. Grind 'em up and feed them to pigs!
Nooses are being banned in America because they are offensive. President Bush denounced them earlier today.
Kill ‘em and throw them in the pig sty at Deadwood.
Awe, lethal injections? Why not beheadings? They seem to prefer that method in the Middle East anyway!!!!!
I was thinking about all those poor, hungry sharks in the waters off Cuba.
Oh the Clintons can kill a bunch of little kids in Texas, but foreign nationals engaged in political activism? Forget about it.
It is absolutely shameful what has been happening in this nation since the Democrats usurped power surreptitiously back in 1963.