Justice at Guantánamo

In February, after nearly nine years in custody, Noor Uthman Muhammed was to become the first terrorism suspect to be tried by military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay. His case would be the first test of the Obama administration's tribunal rules, which were revamped in 2009. While the new rules limit the use of hearsay and offer defendants more legal protections, many defense lawyers believe they do not go nearly far enough.

Until a few months ago, it appeared that Uthman Muhammed's tribunal would also be the first and last held at Guantánamo, as the Obama administration sought to close Guantánamo and move the remaining detainees to a federal facility. (Two other tribunal cases, which were initiated under President Bush, ended with guilty pleas.) But with Congress blocking funds for transferring Guantánamo detainees onto U.S. soil, and the ongoing political turmoil over trying terrorism suspects in Federal Court, it's been reported that the Obama administration will soon initiate more Guantánamo tribunals. Uthman Muhammed's commission trial was expected to serve as a model for how accused terrorists will be tried in post-9/11 America. Instead, on the first day of the commission proceedings, Uthman Muhammed entered a surprise guilty plea. Esquire magazine's Tyler Cabot examines the implications.

The Prisoners of Guantánamo

Of the 171 prisoners still there, only about two dozen are hardened militants and war criminals. Most are like Noor Uthman Muhammed —hapless men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Noor Uthman Muhammed's Day of Decision

Alleged terrorist Noor Uthman Muhammed is sentenced to 14 years. But he will be released after 34 months if he provides testimony that can be used for future commissions and trials.

Noor Uthman Muhammed's Day in Court

On the first day of his military commission trial in Guantanamo Bay, alleged al Qaeda terrorist Noor Uthman Muhammed pleads guilty to avoid life imprisonment.