Lawyers seek 48-hour visit to Gitmo

Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Lawyers for the men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack asked the judge for a 48-hour visit to the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The attorneys said they want to document prison conditions to sway jurors against recommending the death penalty if their clients are convicted of capital murder, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Military and government prosecutors challenged the request, saying they would allow "one single visit," and would control any interviews and where the lawyers went in the facility, as well as written notes, sketches and photographs of the prison.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bogucki, representing Ramzi Binalshibh, the alleged manager of the terrorist cell, compared the government's counterproposal to a "jungle cruise in Disneyland."

"To be essentially shuttled through on a guided tour is entirely unlikely to reveal any meaningful information. It would be for the purpose of show only," Bogucki said. "There are some things at this prison that were not meant to be made apparent."

Military prosecutor Robert McGovern, an Army major, called the government's counterproposal "incredibly reasonable," noting there was no precedent "for a 48-hour overnight visit, and a recurring visit."

He said the attorneys shouldn't be allowed to talk to anyone other than their escorts, other inmates or their clients because "the safety and security of the situation" could be jeopardized, the Times reported.

Judge James L. Pohl, an Army colonel, said he would decide the issue later.

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