Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guantánamo Causes Failing Pride in the Law

The United States judicial system prides itself on long-standing traditions of due process and fair trials. These traditions compose a stable foundation of faith in the system, and this faith is held close by a majority of the country’s population. But there are times when these traditions are compromised and neglected, causing country-wide faith to come crashing down.

Recent reports have come from Guantánamo, indicating a breach in attorney-client confidentiality. Listening devices disguised as spoke detectors have been identified in the rooms in which defendants accused of involvement in the terrorist acts of 9/11 speak with their attorneys. Not only is this strictly illegal under United States law, but it betrays any trust a defendant has in the judicial system. Most in Guantánamo are already skeptical of the fair nature of the treatment they receive; all trust shatters when a person cannot maintain faith in the law.

Authorities claim the listening devices were not used for any purpose beyond listening to authorized conversations legally, such as a “discussion among a detainee, the prosecutor, and defense lawyers who were discussing a possible plea deal.” However, the rooms in which attorneys speak with their clients were still bugged, and the potential to listen in on these confidential conversations cannot be ignored.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 have long since spread fear of conspirators and future attacks. However, the actions often taken in response have serious negative consequences. President Obama vowed early in his first term that Guantánamo would soon be closed. However, the detainment facility still remains open, unable to release even cleared prisoners. Many more are slated to permanent detainment, without a positive outlook on possible future release.

This horrific disregard of United States law has potential to cause a devastating ripple. It is a display of the country’s willingness to selectively apply the law. Other countries will observe this and regard it as a precedent to future similar occurrences. If the United States wishes to maintain its unwavering pride in the judicial system, it must recognize the travesties occurring and aggressively rectify them before it is too late.

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