6:07 AM

Obama restarts Guantanamo trials

Al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is among those who could face the tribunal [EPA]

Barack Obama, the US president, has said military commissions for al-Qaeda suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp will be restarted.

Obama said new legal safeguards would be introduced to the system, including a ban on evidence obtained using "cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation methods".

"These reforms will begin to restore the commissions as a legitimate forum for prosecution, while bringing them in line with the rule of law," Obama said in a statement released on Friday. 

Obama suspended the tribunals, which were set up by the administration of George Bush, his predecessor, soon after he took office in January and placed them under review.

The move is likely to affect the five detainees charged with having played key roles in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been accused of planning the attacks.

Obama said he would also place restrictions on the use of hearsay evidence, so that the "burden will no longer be on the party who objects to hearsay to disprove its reliability".

Detainees would have expanded rights to choose their own legal representation and basic protections provided for those who refuse to testify, he said.

The US president also said he would work with congress "on additional reforms that will permit commissions to prosecute terrorists effectively and be an avenue, along with federal prosecutions in Article III courts, for administering justice".