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Only 10 war-on-terror detainees have been charged, US seeks no death penalties
Yahoo News/AFP
US may use Guantanamo for military executions
January 24, 2006

WASHINGTON (AFP) - New US military rules mean that executions of condemned "war on terror" detainees could be carried out at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the US Army said.

The new rules authorize the army to set the location for executions "imposed by military courts-martial or military tribunals and authorized by the president of the United States."

"Enemy combatants could be affected by this regulation," said Sheldon Smith, a spokesman for the US Army.

Only 10 war-on-terror detainees have so far been charged and referred to special military commissions for trial, and the United States is not seeking the death penalty in any of those cases.

But the United States has not ruled out the death penalty for war-on-terror detainees, and the issue has long been a sore point for some US allies with nationals detained at Guantanamo.

The army said the changes in the regulations allow executions to be conducted at locations other than Fort Leavenworth, previously the only authorized site for military executions.

Currently, seven military inmates are on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. No dates have been set for their execution.

The last time the military executed a prisoner was April 19, 1961, when it put to death John A. Bennet for rape and attempted murder.

The order signed January 17 by General Peter Schoomaker, the army chief of staff, said the changes were a "major revision" of the regulations, which apply to all the services, not just the army.

The regulations were last revised in 1999.

Death penalty opponents said the measure appeared to be a "technical adjustment."

"I don't think there is anything imminent but eventually there might be," said Richard Deiter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.

"I suspect it is aimed at the military tribunals in Guantanamo. They don't want to bring people from Guantanamo and put them on US soil," he said.

Under the regulations, only the president has the power to approve and order an execution.

The secretary of the army then approves the location for the execution. The secretary must set a date for it within 60 days of the president's order.

If there is a stay of execution, it would be conducted 14 to 30 days after the stay is lifted.

The regulations stipulate that executions must be carried out by lethal injection administered by medical personnel or other persons who are qualified to administer intravenous injections.

Media interviews with the condemned prisoner are forbidden.

But at least two media representatives would be chosen from a pool to witness the execution, along with military officials, a chaplain, family members of the condemned and relatives of the victim.

"The condemned prisoner will be placed on the execution table and restrained by means of appropriate fasteners to ensure safety and security of the prisoner and EWT (execution watch team) personnel," the regulations state.

"Once the prisoner is secured to the bale, the execution team will insert a large-bore intravenous channel into an appropriate vein, assure the flow of a normal saline solution, and connect the condemned prisoner to the electrocardiograph machine," it says.

The senior military officer in charge would then read aloud the charges, the finding of the court, the sentence and the execution orders before giving the order to commence the execution.

Do you still think there's a war on terror? Only 10 people have been charged with crimes since 9/11/2001. 10 people is not a war, it's the biggest joke perpetuated on a people in the history of the world. While they laugh at you for believing their lies; the media, military and Bush White House continue to dismantle our constitutional rights.