Censorship in spotlight at 9/11 suspects’ hearing
FORT MEADE, Maryland (AFP) – The five suspected plotters of the September 11 attacks were back in court on Monday with censorship at the centre of how their pre-trial hearings have been conducted at Guantanamo Bay.
A military judge overseeing the hearings ruled last month that the US government censored a discussion involving secret CIA prisons, preventing it from being heard outside the courtroom, and ordered such censorship to stop.
Monday’s hearing began with David Nevin, the lawyer of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, being granted a 24-hour delay so that he could interview two officials involved in monitoring communications at Guantanamo.
Nevin said he had good grounds to believe his discussions with Mohamed, both in the courtroom and outside it during prison visits, had been monitored.
“This is a genuine concern – we have to go to the bottom of this before we can carry on our proceedings,” Nevin said in legal argument.
“The confidentiality of our communications is at issue. If someone has the ability to kill the switch… it raises the specter that they have the ability to listen to our communications,” he added.
The five men suspected of plotting the attacks against the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and involving another airliner which crashed in Pennsylvania – killing nearly 3,000 people in total – face the death penalty if convicted.