GUANTANAMO BAY: Khalid Shaikh Mohammad’s (KSM) lawyer David Nevin said the US government wants to kill his client to extinguish the last eyewitness to his torture.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, a day after the arraignment hearing of KSM and the four co-accused at a military commission tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Nevin said that the Obama administration had wanted the 9/11 case to be tried in a federal court, but could not do so due to political reasons.
“Four years later, we’re back here for political reasons,” he said.
Nevin also said that due to new rules implemented by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF GTMO) commander on December 2011, their ability to talk to their client on certain matters had been sharply reduced, adding that they could not talk to KSM about torture and, for example, historical perspectives on jihad.
Accused Walid Bin Attash’s lawyer Cheryl Bormann told reporters that she wore an abaya and head scarf in court on Friday because of out of respect for her client’s religious beliefs.
In response to a question on why she had raised an objection on one of the prosecution’s member’s attire, she said that one of them had been dressed in not keeping with her client’s religious beliefs, and that it was a distraction. Bormann said that she also dressed in an abaya and headscarf when she met with her client.
Earlier in court, Bormann had mentioned in court that Attash had scars on his arms which she believed were inflicted by the Guantanamo guards, said she had reason to believe that he has been mistreated in the camp.
James Connell, attorney for accused Ammar al Baluchi, said, “The accused participated in peaceful resistance to an unjust system. The accused refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the military commissions as demonstrated through their silence. These men have endured years of inhumane treatment and torture. This treatment has had serious long-term effects and will ultimately affect every aspect of this military commission tribunal.”
Commander Walter Ruiz, counsel for the accused Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, said that he believed Saturday’s proceedings at the tribunal went “terribly”. “We cannot accept assembly line justice,” he added.
Lawyers for the 9/11 co-accused said that they were expecting all of the motions pertaining to the case to be taken up on June 12, when the next hearing takes place at Guantanamo Bay.
Addressing the press conference, Chief Prosecutor Brigadier General Mark Martins said that they were taking a methodical approach, and that they would not be using evidence obtained by torture. Responding to a question, he said that the classification process in place was to protect some of the sources and methods.
“Regardless of the previous and ongoing vigorous and healthy debate, the rule of law now compels all of us to get behind the holding of these military commission trials, and other criminal trials, in all circumstances where we can hold them.”
‘You will never kill the American spirit’
Eddie Bracken, who lost his sister on September 11, 2001, in a press conference, addressed KSM, “This is America and you deserve a fair and just trial. You are in a military tribunal. Where is your leader OBL (Osama bin Laden)? Gone, dead, that’s right.”
He thanked President Obama for authorising the operation to kill Bin Laden, “I want you to know Sheikh Khalid Mohammad, on your last breath you may have killed my sister Lucy, but not her spirit. When your life comes to an end, and it will, you will never kill the American spirit. Let freedom ring.”