Guantanamo detainee continues tribunal boycott, protests 'enemy' defense lawyer

[JURIST] Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul [Wikipedia profile], a Guantanamo detainee from Yemen charged [charge sheet, PDF] with conspiring to commit murder, to attack civilians and civilian objects, and terrorism, boycotted [JURIST report] his military commission hearing again Thursday, this time on the grounds that the attorney appointed to defend him, US Army Major Tom Fleener [Wikipedia profile], is his enemy and cannot represent him. It was not immediately clear how the impasse would be resolved. Fleener voiced concern about violating legal ethics by forcing representation on al Bahlul and said he would try to go to Yemen to find him a lawyer.

Today's boycott occurs against the backdrop of continuing criticism of the military commission process [JURIST news archive]. Fleener himself has described the trials as "shams" and presiding judge Col. Peter E. Brownback has said he will review evidence [JURIST report] to determine whether it was obtained by torture before ruling on its admissibility. The US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments March 28 in Hamdan v Rumsfeld [certiorari petition PDF; JURIST report], a case that challenges the President's authority to create military tribunals to try terrorist detainees. AP has more.

 

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