FORT MEADE, Md. – A defense lawyer for the self-proclaimed architect of 9/11 Monday urged a military judge to allow testimony by an additional witness testify who will say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others accused in the terror attacks were subjected to handling by female guards that caused psychological trauma and violated their Muslim beliefs.
Attorney David Nevin made a motion asking that Judge Col. James Pohl allow Dr. Pablo Stewart to vouch for the health consequences to KSM and the others of “sexualized torture and naked touching by women” at CIA black sites. Pohl denied additional witnesses from testifying in his controversial order to bar female guards from transporting the suspects last year.
The military commission pre-trial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station was simulcast at the Fort Meade Army post outside Washington.
Nevin called the use of female guards at high security Camp 7 an unnecessary “intent to punish” not allowed under the cruel and unusual punishment clause in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitutional as well as a previous case.
“You want me to restrict a female officer [from their post] simply because she’s female?” Pohl asked.
“That’s not my complete or correct statement,” Nevin said.
Bob Swann, chief prosecutor of the Military Commission at Guantanamo Bay, dismissed Nevin’s argument, saying that the topic has been discussed extensively.
But Nevin said that “the close contact with unrelated females is inappropriate’” line was deleted from the Standard Operating Procedures right before female guards were used. Nevin wanted an explanation of why the language was deleted and whether it was lawful.
“I’m not asking for the [Standard of Procedure] change — I’m trying to get at the fact of why the change was made,” Nevin said.
Other defense team lawyers argued against censoring transcripts of the Oct. 30 open hearing related to the same guard situation. The transcripts had blacked-out portions after being made public for a short time. In that hearing, testimony of some military witnesses involved forced-cell extraction, a forceful method where the guards coercively remove detainees from their cells.
More than a dozen media organizations filed a motion to lift the classified status, but the Guantanamo war court prosecutors offered no reasons for the redactions and who is responsible.
“Transcript or hamburger — it was taken down word for word in proceeding in the public gallery. it is a verbatim transcription of proceeding, made to inform public about what happens here,” said media attorney David A. Schulz, who has argued for media rights in the past for Guantanamo trials.
Another 9/11 defendant, Walid bin Attash, who has been unhappy with his current counsel, was conspicuously absent from the courtroom, while Bin al Shibh, Ammar al Baluchi, Mustafa al Hawsawi and KSM were present.