War crimes court holds secret hearing

July 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, July 18 (UPI) -- A closed hearing was held Wednesday in the USS Cole bombing case being tried at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, court officials said.

The Miami Herald said little was known about what was going on at the hearing but the Pentagon docket suggested the defense was seeking the release of government documents related to the capture and treatment of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the October 2000 attack on the destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has said Nashiri was held in Poland and probably also in Thailand. Nashiri was interrogated at gunpoint, while hooded and with a power drill held to his head, which his defense attorneys say is torture and makes certain evidence inadmissible at trial, the newspaper said.

Nashiri was not present at the hearing, despite the request of his legal team. Prosecutors said classified information would be discussed at the hearing and Nashiri does not have security clearance.

Fourteen media organizations filed a motion opposing plans to close the hearings.

A source told the Herald a court stenographer with top secret clearances would create a typewritten record of the hearing, which will then be scrubbed by intelligence agencies to decide which portions will be made public.

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