Outbursts, surly silence from 9/11 defendants in courtroom
Five suspects in terrorist attacks drag out proceedings in Guantanamo Bay
Five suspects believed responsible for initiating the 9/11 terrorist
attacks made one of their first public appearances in five years in
court at Guantanamo Bay. The courtroom was bathed in surly silence,
enlivened only by the occasional outburst. The proceedings dragged into a
13-hour day in court.
Notoriously slovenly Mubarak bin 'Attash appeared in military court, and remained largely silent -- save the time he removed his shirt and made a paper airplane to disrupt proceedings.
Dragging on until 10:30 p.m., the court appearance shed some light on the five men who have not been seen publicly since 2008 when they were first charged by a military tribunal.
All five suspects appeared to work together to defy the judge's instruction, refusing to speak or cooperate with courtroom protocol. Some of the defendants ignored the judge and others appeared to be reading, slowed the proceedings to a crawl.
Bin 'Attash was wheeled into the courtroom in a restraining chair. It was unclear why he was the only defendant brought into court in that manner, though he was allowed out of restraints after he promised not to disrupt court proceedings.
Bin 'Attash took off his shirt while his attorney was describing injuries she alleged he sustained while in custody.
The judge told bin 'Attash, "No!" and warned that he would be removed from the courtroom if he did not follow directions.
In a further show of defiance, bin 'Attash made a paper airplane and placed it on top of a microphone. It was removed after a translator complained about the sound the paper made against the microphone.
Judge, Col. James Pohl needed the five to affirm their desire to be represented by the attorneys who accompanied them to court. As the defendants refused to cooperate, Pohl ruled the men would continue to be represented by their current military and civilian attorneys.
The five men are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war. If convicted, all five could face the death penalty.
It took more than two hours for officers of the court just to read into the record of the allegations behind the 9/11 hijackings.
As the men refused to speak, the judge could not confirm that they could hear the translation of the proceedings. Time elapsed while they set up loudspeakers in the court to carry the translations. Some lawyers objected to this solution, too, and translation remained a problem at the outset of the hearing.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 12. Pohl says it will likely be at least a year before the case goes to trial.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: 9/11, defendants, terrorists, courtroom
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