Gitmo judge suggests dumping mics

Feb. 4, 2013 at 8:41 PM   |   Comments

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The judge presiding over proceedings at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, war court Monday suggested ripping out the microphones to ensure attorney-client privacy.

The privacy issue arose last week when unbeknown to Army Col. James Pohl, the judge at the war court, a censor disrupted transmission of the proceedings to media centers at Guantanamo and Fort Meade, Md.

"Let's just get rid of them, problem solved," Pohl said in response to concerns someone could be listening in on conversations between attorneys and their clients through the sound system.

The suggestion came during a hearing involving the 2000 suicide bombers' attack on the USS Cole while at port in Aden, Yemen, that killed 17 U.S. sailors and wounded 39 others, The Miami Herald reported. The hearing involves alleged CIA torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who alleges he was waterboarded and subjected to threats against his mother, among other things. His attorney says he's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The New York Times reported prosecutors responded Monday by asking for a mental health evaluation of al-Nashiri.

Pohl granted the request, meaning most of the pretrial motions on tap for argument this week would be delayed for at least a month, the newspaper said.

"We will not proceed until said examination is completed," the military judge said, conceding later, "It appears we are not going to make too much progress this week."

Pohl also ruled defense medical consultant Sondra Crosby can examine al-Nashiri, unshackled and alone while being filmed by a surveillance camera without audio with guards outside the door.

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