James Connell, a lawyer for one of the five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 terror attack, was granted rare access to an “ultra-secret section of the Guantanamo Bay.”
Connell said on Sunday that “the camp does not meet international standards under the Geneva Conventions,” and that he plans to file a motion with the judge who is presiding over the US military’s war crimes tribunal “challenging the conditions in the section known as Camp 7.” The allegations have been denied by the chief prosecutor for the tribunal.
According to the Huffington Post:
Connell won approval from the judge to spend 12 hours with two experts inside Camp 7, which holds men deemed “high-value detainees” by the U.S. military and is so shrouded in secrecy that its location on the U.S. base in Cuba is classified. The lawyer said he was prevented from seeing how to get to Camp 7 and is not permitted to reveal exactly what he saw, but he said it amounts to pretrial punishment, which is prohibited under military regulations.
Connell insists that, “the conditions of confinement do not meet the standards for preventative detention under the laws of war.” But according to Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, “the security is designed to prevent the release of classified information by high-value detainees, who include all five men charged in the Sept. 11 attack.” He also added, “We take very seriously humane standards.”
Camp 7, which opened in 2006, was specifically designed to hold prisoners who were held in CIA prisons overseas and “subjected to the harsh interrogations that critics say amounted to torture. The prisoners held there do not live in communal pods like most of the prisoners held at Guantanamo and they cannot make phone calls to their families.”
A week long pretrial hearing in the Sept. 11 case is set to begin Monday and will focus on “procedural issues” which must be resolved before the actual trial begins. The trial itself is still at least a year away.
Photo: AP File/Brennan Linsley