Gitmo Trials To Resume ASAP

U.S. Secretary for Defense Donald Rumsfeld gestures while speaking during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday June 9, 2005. NATO defense ministers begin a two-day meeting on Thursday in which they will discuss, among other issues, the situation in Afghanistan and Darfur.
Military trials of two terror suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay will resume "as soon as possible," in light of a court ruling against a detainee who challenged the system, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday.

Rumsfeld did not name the suspects, but two other officials said later they are David Hicks, an Australian accused of having fought alongside the Taliban regime against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni whose challenge to the legality of the trial system was initially upheld but was overturned Friday by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Rumsfeld said more details would be provided later in a written statement.

At a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Rumsfeld applauded the court ruling and said it would help expedite the military trials, which are criticized by some as unfair.

"The court's ruling marks an advance in the global struggle against extremists and aids the effort to protect innocent life," he said. "It vindicates the president's determination to treat suspected terrorists humanely but not to grant them the protections of the Geneva Conventions as a matter of right."

As a result of the ruling, the Pentagon also will prepare charges against eight other individuals held at the detention compound in Cuba, Rumsfeld said. It was his first public remarks on the subject since the ruling Friday. Those eight, whose names have not been released, had previously been declared eligible for trial by military commissions, but no charges have yet been filed against them.