[Ppnews] Guantánamo prosecutors say arguments on waterboarding should be in secret session

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 20 11:20:09 EDT 2013

  Guantánamo prosecutors say arguments on waterboarding should be in
  secret session

Read more here: 

      crosenberg at miamiherald.com <mailto:crosenberg at miamiherald.com>


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- The prosecution in the Sept. 11 
conspiracy trial put the judge on notice Wednesday that it wants to hold 
secret pretrial motions in the death-penalty case --- and exclude both 
the public and five alleged terrorists during discussion of their years 
in CIA custody.

Exclusion must be handled on a case by case basis, said Department of 
Justice attorney Joanna Baltes. But, she argued, the accused don't have 
an absolute right to hear legal arguments that discuss classified 
information before a military jury starts hearing evidence.

Defense lawyers disagreed. At issue, noted attorney David Nevin for 
alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, is the Bush administration's 
Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program, in which his client was 
waterboarded 183 times.

"Mr. Mohammad has a right to be present when we're talking about matters 
that deal with his torture," he said. Nevin invoked the 8th Amendment 
prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, and said Mohammed has a right 
to see evidence the against him.

Otherwise, he said, make it a non-capital trial.

For the discussion, Mohammed sat at the lead defendant's table leafing 
through legal papers, his four co-accused seated behind him.

A day earlier the five men voluntarily skipped legal arguments over the 
process of creating the war court case that accuses them of financing, 
training and directing the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings. The attacks killed 
2,976 people in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

Baltes countered that Congress did not give Guantánamo war court accused 
an absolute right to attend a pretrial phase when lawyers were arguing 
legal issues. "If it's a question of law, then there's no deprivation of 
the accused rights."

Cheryl Bormann, defense lawyer for alleged al-Qaida lieutenant Walid bin 
Attash, noted that at issue was the CIA's interrogation of the captives 
before they got lawyers and before they got to Guantánamo. Rather then 
exclude the accused, she said, declassify the program for all to see.

Jay Connell, attorney for Mohammed's nephew, argued the U.S. lost its 
right to keep the CIA program a secret from the men when they put them 
in it.

The judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, did not rule. It appeared argument 
on the issue might continue.

But last week Pohl closed the war court to both the public and the 
accused in another death-penalty case by declaring disclosure of certain 
information "could result in grave damage to national security."

Read more here: 

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