The only legitimate way to prosecute Mohammed is in a civilian court, not a tribunal with a jury of Pentagon-appointed military officers and an Army colonel for a judge, say many members of the legal community.
Even with the minimal reforms now in place, the defense lawyers say the commissions are anything but fair. They complain that their mail is improperly reviewed by the military, interfering with attorney-client privilege, that they aren't given enough resources to investigate cases the government spent years building, that too many hearings are still held in secret and that they are barred from disclosing anything their clients tell them.
Lawyers face hurdles they would never encounter in a civilian court, including strict limits on what they can say about their clients, whose every utterance is treated as presumptively classified. Courtroom proceedings are subject to a 45-second delay so censors can prevent the inadvertent disclosure of government secrets, a system that critics say is intended merely to prevent anyone from learning details about the men's treatment.
"You can take a $5 mule and put a $10,000 saddle on it and call it reformed," said Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, a military lawyer for Saudi defendant al-Hawsawi. "You still have a $5 mule; it just has a fancy saddle."