Military judge rules 9/11 accused do not have to attend hearings

[JURIST] Five men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks [JURIST report] do not have to attend [DOD press release] court proceedings against them, a military judge ruled Monday. Army Col. James Pohl ruled that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [JURIST news archive], Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi can elect not to attend their court proceedings at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] as long as they understand their right to attend and possible disadvantages if they are absent. The Military Commission also said it is still considering the prosecution's request to approve a protective order [text, PDF] intended to prevent the release of classified information through the use of a 40-second delay [AP report] in broadcast of the hearings to spectators, who watch behind sound-proof glass. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed [press release] a contrary motion [text, PDF] in May. In August the military commission agreed to hear oral arguments [JURIST report] regarding the protective order.

As the trial for the accused 9/11 planners begins, many other Guantanamo detainees await decisions about their fate. At the end of September Canadian citizen Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive] was transferred to Canada [JURIST report] from Guantanamo Bay to serve out the rest of his prison sentence under the authority of the Correctional Service of Canada. Around the same time, the ACLU announced that on the basis of a Freedom of Information Act request it filed, the government released the names of 55 detainees who were approved for release [JURIST report] from Guantanamo Bay in 2010 but have yet to be released. Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif [NYT profile] died at a hospital [JURIST report] on the US Navy base in September after guards found him unconscious in his cell. According to Forum contributor David Frakt [JURIST op-ed], the story of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif "exemplifies how many of the detainees are also victims, not of terrorism, but of the war on terror."

 

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