Bin Attash’s attorney, non-Muslim Chicago lawyer Cheryl Bormann, was clad in a black abaya out of deference to her client. Bormann has asked in the past that other women in the courtroom similarly cover up so as not to distract the defendant, but one woman at the prosecution table today wore a military-issue skirt and none of the women covered their hair.
“We have been dealing with our attorneys for about a year and half and we haven’t been able to build any trust with them,” complained bin Attash, who earlier refused to speak with the judge and wanted to request the dismissal of one of his attorneys through Bormann.
“There is nothing that would motivate us to come… we don’t want this to be a personal issue between us and the judge,” continued the terror suspect, who was captured in Karachi in 2003 aged in his mid-20s. “But I want you to understand the situation we are in — the government does not want us to hear or understand or say anything and they don’t want our attorneys to do anything.”
One of the issues expected to be addressed in the hearings is a defense argument that government restrictions prevent their clients from talking about their alleged torture at the hands of the U.S.
Mohammed and his co-defendants have hearings Jan. 28-31 and Feb. 11-14. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, alleged mastermind of the USS Cole attack, is scheduled to appear in court from Feb. 4-7.
These cases are the ones before the Guantanamo tribunal that carry the possibility of the death penalty.
Stay tuned to PJM for ongoing coverage of the Guantanamo tribunals