A defense lawyer for one of the Guantanamo inmates charged in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks claims that the prison camp is in violation of basic human rights required by the Geneva Conventions, and plans to file a motion challenging the conditions.
“The conditions of confinement do not meet the standards for
preventative detention under the laws of war,” Pentagon
defense attorney James Connell said after gaining access to a
top-secret section of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba,
according to the Associated Press.
Connell spent 12 hours inside Camp 7, a secret compound whose
location within Guantanamo remains classified. This camp holds
“high-value” detainees, including the men charged in the
Sept. 11 attacks. Connell was prevented from seeing
how he was transported to Camp 7, and is also prohibited from
speaking about what he saw. Together with two experts, the
Pentagon attorney spoke with his client, Ammar al Baluchi, the
nephew of the mastermind behind the Sept. 11
Connell said he took hundreds of photos of the top-secret camp,
which are now in the hands of intelligence officials. The
attorney is not allowed to discuss specifically what he
witnessed, but said he saw “a number of things that concerned
us” and plans to file a motion with the prison commander. If
the commander refuses to comply, he said he would file a second
motion with the chief war court judge.
The lawyer said the conditions of confinement amount to pretrial
punishment, which military regulations prohibit. Pretrial
punishments can sometimes lead
to a reduced sentence.
If Camp 7 is indeed found to be in violation of the laws drawn up
at the Geneva Conventions, it would put the Pentagon into an
uncomfortable position. In 2009, a Pentagon review ordered by
President Barack Obama concluded that Gitmo prisoners were being
treated humanely, in accordance with the standards demanded by
the Geneva Conventions. However the US has already come under
scrutiny this summer for force-feeding
inmates during the holy month of Ramadan, which many considered a
violation of the rights ensured by the conventions.
In response to Connell’s comments, chief war crimes prosecutor
Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martin said that he would not comment on
whether problems at the facility would delay the trial, but
denied any responsibility, the Miami Herald reports.
“We take very seriously humane standards,” he said.
“I’m not responsible for the facility.”
Spokesmen for the prison were prohibited from discussing the
Camp 7 was opened in 2006 to hold 14 prisoners that were being
held and interrogated overseas by the CIA. The movie “Zero Dark
Thirty” shows Baluchi’s character being forced to wear a dog
collar, subjected to waterboarding, strung up with rope, and
stuffed into a coffin-like box. The CIA has admitted that it used
such methods on other prisoners, but refused to say whether or
not they were used on Baluchi. The top-secret facility
known as Camp 7 isolates “high-value” prisoners from others at
Guantanamo, and prohibits them from making any phone calls to
A pretrial hearing for al Baluchi and the four other men charged
in the 9/11 attacks, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, begins on Monday.
Republished from: RT