[Ppnews] Guantanamo Military Court Holds Session so Secret, Defendant Can’t Attend
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 28 11:40:01 EDT 2013
Military Court Holds Session so Secret Defendant Can’t Attend
The U.S. military commission trials at Guantánamo recently held a
pretrial hearing for the man accused of masterminding the October 12,
2000, bombing of the U.S.S. /Cole/ in Yemen. What made this legal event
noteworthy was the fact that the defendant wasn’t even allowed to attend
because prosecutors insisted the information being revealed was so
secret that the hearing had to be completely closed.
After concluding the hearing, the military revealed only one thing to
the media: that it lasted 78 minutes.
Army Colonel James Pohl, the presiding judge, agreed to close the
session because Pentagon prosecutors demonstrated a “compelling
governmental interest that public disclosure could result in grave
damage to national security,” and that disclosure of material at the
hearing “could reasonably be expected to damage national security,
including intelligence sources and methods,” according to the /Miami
Brigadier General Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, said the hearing
was the first closed session under the 2009 Military Commission Act,
which President Barack Obama supported to reform the military tribunals
that began under President George W. Bush.
Rick Kammen, the civilian lawyer representing the defendant, Abd al
Rahim al Nashiri, objected to the closure, claiming it violated the
Military Commissions Act, as well as numerous treaties, Nashiri’s right
to be free of cruel and unusual punishment and due process and “whatever
5th, 6th and 8th amendment rights he may have.”
The commission did release a transcript
of the hearing, but it was so heavily redacted that it is difficult to
glean any information from it.
ProPublica’s Cora Currier reported that parts of the transcript reveal
“lengthy discussion of the CIA’s secret prison program, in which Nashiri
was held for four years and subjected to waterboarding and mock executions.”
A Saudi millionaire, Nashiri has been in U.S. custody for 11 years.
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