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US Generals criticize Bush plan on terrorism trials

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. military's top legal officers on Thursday criticized a White House plan for military tribunals to try foreign terrorism suspects because it would allow convictions based on evidence never seen by the defendants.

The military judge advocates general, senior legal advisers to their branches of the armed forces, told Congress the plan failed to give suspects enough legal rights because it restricted their access to evidence.

However, a U.S. Justice Department official said some restrictions were necessary and justified.

The right to a full and fair hearing requires the accused have access to the evidence used to convict them, even if it is classified information, the military advisors told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

"I'm not aware of any situation in the world where there is a system of jurisprudence that is recognized by civilized people where an individual can be tried and convicted without seeing the evidence against him," said Brig. Gen. James Walker, U.S. Marine Corps staff judge advocate.

"I don't think the United States needs to become the first in that scenario," he said.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N07352722.htm