THE expected announcement from Guantanamo Bay that the United States has charged six detainees there with the September 11, 2001, attacks on the New York Trade Center and on Washington DC raises more questions than it answers. The charges of murder, terrorism and violating the laws of war are the culmination of years of work by the Pentagon which is now seeking the death penalty. The principal suspect is Khalid Sheik Mohammad who is said to have confessed that he was the master-mind behind the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed is also one of three men identified only last week by the CIA as having been subjected to “waterboarding”, a form of interrogation that simulates the sensation of drowning; the technique is considered by many experts to be indistinguishable from torture. A military spokesman said yesterday that “there will be no secret trials” and that the accused would be given rights “virtually identical to the rights we provide to our military members”. In the past military tribunals set up to try Guantanamo Bay inmates have been severely criticised over their procedures and the limited access that lawyers were given to the people they were representing. In an early case a successful challenge to the tribunals was successfully taken to the US Supreme Court. The admissibility of evidence obtained under torture or extreme interrogation is certain to be challenged, as are allegations which depend on third or fourth-hand evidence.