Guantanamo judge allows 9/11 pre-trial hearings to continue

[JURIST] A military judge on Tuesday refused to suspend the pretrial hearings in a case against five Guantanamo Bay prisoners related to the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounders] terrorist attack. Army Col. James Pohl [Miami Herald backgrounder; JURIST news archive] reasoned that the measures taken to respond to the defendants' concerns were adequate [AP report] to continue the hearings. The defense team claimed [JURIST report] that the government's computer network was not secure. The lawyers alleged that confidential data, e-mails and private research went missing or were erroneously sent to the prosecution. The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] stated that it will address the concerns. The next pretrial hearing is set for October 22 while no trial date is set.

Controversy continues to surround Guantanamo military trials. In February Pohl ordered the removal [JURIST report] of any monitoring system that censors the public broadcast of the 9/11 military commission hearings. He noted that only he and the court security officer have the authority to turn on or off the light that would make the courtroom closed to public. The order came a day after the DOD released an excerpt of the transcript from the missing few minutes based on another order issued earlier that week. In the same month, Pohl denied [JURIST report] a defense motion requesting a finding that the US constitution was "presumed to apply" in the proceedings and that the prosecution must bear the burden of proving that any particular provision did not apply. In January a US military judge upheld [JURIST report] a request to censor 9/11 conspirators' testimony. In September last year a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia rejected [JURIST report] new restrictions on lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees who have had their habeas corpus challenges denied or dismissed. The DOD announced in 2011 that it had sworn charges against the five men [JURIST report] accused in the 9/11 attacks. In April 2011 US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [JURIST news archive] and the four others would be tried by a military commission [JURIST report] after the Obama administration abandoned attempts to have the 9/11 suspects tried in civilian courts.

 

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