Military Probing Abuse of Power by Top Gitmo Brass

[JURIST] The U.S. Air Force is conducting an ethics investigation of Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann over allegations that he abused his power and inappropriately influenced the prosecution of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, military officials said Saturday. Hartmann was the legal advisor to the U.S. military commissions at Guantanamo and supervisor of the Office of Military Commissions-Prosecution (OMC-P) until he was reassigned to the position of director of operations of the Office of Military Commissions last month. It has been alleged that Hartmann forced officials at Guantanamo to bring prosecution cases before they were ready, prosecuted an individual on charges that were unwarranted, and that he tried to get prosecutors to use coerced evidence notwithstanding their objections. The Air Force is also investigating complaints by two military officials that Hartmann exhibited abusive and retaliatory behavior towards them within the Office of Military Commissions. The Los Angeles Times has more. AP has additional coverage.

Earlier this year military judges presiding over the trials of Guantanamo detainees Omar Khadr, Mohammed Jawad and Salim Ahmed Hamdan barred Hartmann from taking any part in the trials of those detainees on grounds that he was unduly biased towards the prosecution. U.S. Army Gen. Gregory Zanetti, deputy commander at Guantanamo Bay, testified in August that Hartmann routinely bullied his counterparts and was inappropriately aggressive in seeking indictments against detainees. In October, newly resigned Guantanamo chief military prosecutor Col. Morris Davis said during his tenure Hartmann questioned the need for open trials and was upset with the slow pace of the proceedings begun by Davis.

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