US military rehearses terror hearings

US military rehearses terror hearingsfrom ap/yahoo: The U.S. military is rehearsing for hearings on whether 14 top terror suspects can be held indefinitely without charge as enemy combatants, but defense lawyers say the outcome is preordained.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and the 13 others will be the highest-profile detainees to undergo the so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals, and the first to do so in two years. The proceedings, expected early next year, are open to the media.

At the hearings, a military panel will evaluate whether the men should be classified as “enemy combatants,” a designation which allows them to be held indefinitely and prevents them from challenging their detention in the U.S. court system.

“The biggest thing we’re doing is opening up the books, reviewing procedures and conducting rehearsals so that we do it correctly,” Navy Capt. Philip Waddingham told reporters who recently visited Guantanamo. He is the lead officer at Guantanamo for the Pentagon-based office in charge of determining detainees’ status.

It is unclear whether Mohammed and the others – who until recently were being held in secret CIA prisons – will agree to attend the hearings. If they do, the military says they will remain shackled and would be forbidden to talk to reporters.

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