Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Integrated Justice; It's Just So Convenient!

I have said for some time that the war in Afghanistan is a comic's dream.

Reading today's NYT, the following article jumped out at me like an angry Muppet in a dark alley after a big night on mescaline:

"The new American-run prison outside the capital will hold its first trial of an Afghan detainee next week, American officers said Wednesday.

"The Afghan prisoner, who was not identified, will be tried in an Afghan court, before an Afghan judge, and he will be defended by an Afghan lawyer, officials said. The trial is set for Tuesday.

"Vice Adm. Robert Harward, the commander of American detention operations here, said he was not sure yet if the trial would be open to the public.

"Even so, the trial would be a significant moment in the evolution of the American detention system in Afghanistan. The Parwan Detention Center, which opened last year, succeeded the prison at Bagram, which had earned a grim reputation as a place where Afghans were sometimes abused.

"Particularly in the early years of the war, Afghans captured during military operations were held at Bagram for long periods without being charged, without facing trial and without being able to see either their families or lawyers. The conditions there were widely criticized as abusive. Two Afghans died in custody at Bagram in 2002, leading to criminal charges against several American servicemen."

So let me get this straight:

- After extra-judicial incarceration without charge;
- The 'detainee' will indicted for a crime that s/he wasn't charged; and
- The trial will be held in a prison.

The great thing about this integrated 'ex-poste justice' system is that the detainee never needs to leave prison! How convenient.

This must be the rights-based approach to establishing a kangaroo court.

Of course, the Afghans will really appreciate this 'show of fairness' by the occupying powers because it will be justice dispensed "in an Afghan court, before an Afghan judge,...defended by an Afghan lawyer" in an American-run prison in their occupied country.

Makes perfect sense!

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