FORT MEADE: One of five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks was expelled from a Guantanamo courtroom yesterday after trying to speak without permission.
The incident involving Yemeni Ramzi Binalshibh happened shortly after the start of a new round of preliminary hearings at the US military facility in Cuba.
“I have the right to talk,” Binalshibh said in English after the presiding military judge, Colonel James Pohl, asked the suspects if they understood their rights to waive their right to be present at the start of the proceedings broadcast to Fort Meade near the US capital.
“No you don’t have the right to talk,” Pohl countered before deciding to temporarily expel the detainee. “He was warned not to be disruptive,” Pohl said, adding that Binalshibh’s “disruptive conduct” justified his exclusion. Self-declared 9/11 kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, donning camouflage and sporting a red-tinted beard, also tried to speak about his incarceration at Guantanamo’s secretive Camp 7. Camp 7 is the most secure part of Guantanamo.
“We are never allowed to get any paper from our lawyers,” he said in Arabic comments that were translated into English. He was subsequently also interrupted by the judge in the same manner.
But Mohammed, the translation of whose comments became inaudible, was not expelled. The hearing was then suspended for the morning because a defence lawyer became ill. The five accused face the death penalty if convicted of plotting the attacks 12 years ago on New York and Washington. AFP