Attorney argues for open Guantanamo trial

April 10, 2012 at 6:51 PM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, April 10 (UPI) -- First Amendment lawyer David Shulz left for Guantanamo Bay Tuesday to protest the closure of the U.S. military's first death penalty trial there, officials say.

On trial is alleged al-Qaida bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of planning the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 in which 17 American soldiers were killed. This week, Nashiri will testify in a closed military commissions session at the military detention facility regarding his treatment in overseas CIA prisons from 2002 to 2003.

Shulz filed a protest on behalf of a large group of news organizations, demanding the proceedings be made public, The Miami Herald reported.

Shulz argues the trial should not be closed because it is in the public interest to be aware of the CIA's actions. He also contends the CIA's interrogation methods were already made public in properly declassified documents.

"We're going down there because we believe that the Military Commissions Act demands open proceedings and grants the press a right to be heard," Shulz said.

Pentagon officials counter the trial is closed in the interest of national security. The Pentagon did, however, arrange for Shulz to join the military flight to Guantanamo along with five journalists.

Anthony Mattivi, the prosecutor in the case, invited Shulz to the proceedings, but left it up to the judge whether Shulz should be aloud to argue his protest.

Although case briefs were released by the Pentagon Monday, some details of the case have not been made public, such as whether or not Nashiri will be allowed to testify at all in the USS Cole case.

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