Co-authored by Freda Carmack

ABC-7 reports, here, that Staff. Sgt. Andrew Sims, a military nurse, is facing a court-martial for allegedly giving a fatal dose of a lethal drug to an Iraqi teenager who was badly burned, in what has been described as a “mercy killing.” Sims’ lawyer insists that there is no medical evidence to support these claims.  See coverage of the acquittal of an Air Force nurse two years ago in another alleged act of mercy, at a stateside US military hospital, see here and here.

According to the Miami Herald, here, when Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins takes over as the new Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions next month, he brings with him big ideas to help enhance the transparency of the Guantanamo trials.  Most significantly, “near-real-time” transmissions of the trials will be streamed to reporters and victims in special venues within the United States.  As several of NIMJ’s affiliates have experienced, observers used to have to fly to Guantanamo on special flights in order to view the proceedings, and they faced restrictions on what they could report. This change is significant, as some of the cases set to go to trial include that of the “architect” of the USS Cole bombing and a 9/11 plotter.  This is not to say there will not still be restrictions. Transmissions will be subject to a “40 second delay” to protect “national security information.”   In the article, Martins is described by DoD General Counsel, Jeh Johnson, as “a recognized superstar” who is dedicated to making military commissions “credible and sustainable.” It will be interesting to see what other changes he has in store.

According to the New York Times, here, “the first five witnesses [in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak], all police officials, recanted what prosecutors said were initial statements about instructions from senior police officials to use live ammunition or other force against demonstrators.”   Mubarak’s trial is a combination of criminal trial and civil trial, with victims’ families being represented by plainitffs’ lawyers.  The trial was suspended after the plainitffs’ lawyers raised bias objections to the presiding judge, see UPI report here.

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