Guantanamo Roundup: New Courtrooms, Shackles in the O.R., and the Quiet Release of More Detainees

| Mon Nov. 20, 2006 3:04 PM PST

In today's Gitmo news... The Miami Herald reports that the Pentagon has big plans for the detention center there—a $75 million-plus "legal compound" to house the long-awaited military commissions. Some features of the offshore hall of justice:

It would have two courtrooms; housing for up to 1,200 U.S. forces, lawyers, members of the news media and other visitors; a 100-car motor pool; an 800-person dining facility; conference and closed-circuit television facilities and a secure work space for classified material.

Amnesty International has slammed the Pentagon for planning "a permanent homage to its failed experiment in second-class justice." The scheme still has to get through Congress.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has denied a prisoner's request to get a cardiac procedure off-site. The prisoner is Saifullah Paracha, AKA Detainee 1094, who needs a cardiac catheterization.

Paracha's lawyer said that his client complained that several simple diagnostic examinations were not performed adequately by doctors at Guantanamo Naval Hospital. Gaillard Hunt, Paracha's lawyer, said that his client has had his hands and feet shackled when being examined at the base hospital and that several attempts to perform an electrocardiogram, or EKG, proved difficult for base medical staff.

The judge said he was "troubled by the shackling allegations," but ruled against Paracha anyway. Paracha caught our attention a few months ago for being a bit of a wise guy in one of his tribunal hearings.

And in a quiet milestone, the U.S. has released "the last remaining Guantanamo detainees determined to be no longer enemy combatants." The three prisoners are being sent to Albania, leaving behind 430 detainees in Cuba, awaiting their day in the shiny new coutroom.

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