WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- Defense lawyers have asked that the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, trial of the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in 2000 be televised in the United States.
The request was made in a 14-page brief filed Friday with the Pentagon. It asked the military judge in the case to provide a video feed of the proceedings at Guantanamo Bay directly to C-SPAN and five other major networks.
Arrangements have already been made to provide live video to viewing rooms in Norfolk, Va., and Fort Meade, Md. Those rooms are restricted to the media and the families of the Cole crew. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and 39 injured in the suicide bombing of the guided missile destroyer in the port of Aden, Yemen, Oct. 12, 2000.
Attorney Richard Kamman told McClatchy Newspapers the U.S. public and the rest of the world deserved to see the trial and decide for themselves if the evidence against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was sound or based on "hearsay or double hearsay or triple hearsay."
"Why should only people on the East Coast be able to see this?" Kamman added. "If we really believe this system is so fair and is upholding American ideals, why should we try and hide it?"
The Pentagon responded that it was running the trial based on the rules of U.S. federal courts, which prohibit the televising or photographing of any trials. A private viewing room was allowed previously in the trial of Sept. 11, 2001 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui.
Previous Guantanamo trials have not included video transmissions to the United States, McClatchy said. Reporters and civilian spectators have been required to obtain approval from the Pentagon to fly to Cuba to watch the proceedings in person.