Judge wants to review Red Cross documents on Guantanamo

Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A U.S. military judge wants to review documents on the Guantanamo camp where men charged with conspiring in the 2001 terrorist attacks are being held.

Army Col. James Pohl, in an order Wednesday, said the Defense Department must hand over all correspondence from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Camp 7, The Miami Herald reported. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators are being held in the camp, run by a Pentagon Unit called Task Force Platinum, which is off limits to reporters.

The five, who were transferred to Guantanamo from secret prisons in 2006, could face the death penalty if they are convicted. Defense lawyers want to examine the documents because the conditions in their prison could be an issue when they are tried and could be an argument against the death penalty.

"The ICRC records may provide important information about the extremely harsh conditions of confinement at Guantanamo over the years," said James Connell, who represents Ammar al Baluchi, Mohammed's nephew. "The ICRC correspondence represents the only independent historical record of the prisoners' time at Guantanamo."

The ICRC has argued against making its documents public. Officials say the promise of confidentiality is key to its ability to work with governments to monitor the conditions under which prisoners are held.

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