News / USA

Guantanamo Guards Accused of Improper Document Seizures

Sun rises over U.S. detention center Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, Oct. 18, 2012.
Sun rises over U.S. detention center Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, Oct. 18, 2012.
Reuters
An attorney for a man charged with plotting the Sept. 11 attacks accused U.S. military guards at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on Thursday of seizing his client's private legal documents.
 
The allegation from Navy Commander Walter Ruiz called into question whether five defendants undergoing a pretrial hearing in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal can expect a fair trial on charges of terrorism, hijacking and murdering nearly 3,000 people.
 
Ruiz represents Saudi defendant Mustafa al Hawsawi, who is accused of wiring money to the Sept. 11 airplane hijackers to fund their 2001 attack on the United States. Ruiz said Guantanamo guards seized documents from Hawsawi's cell that were marked “attorney-client privilege.”
 
Under U.S. law, a criminal defendant's right to representation by counsel includes a right to confidential communications with an attorney and private legal documents.
 
“We have an issue of unlawful authority,” Ruiz said.
 
Under questioning from Ruiz, Navy Commander George Massucco admitted that a Guantanamo guard seized documents from Hawsawi's cell and put them in an envelope.
 
Massucco, a prison camp lawyer and liaison with “high-value” detainees like Hawsawi, said: “Some of the documents had attorney-client marks on them, yes.”
 
He said he did not read the documents after the guard showed them to him.
 
“I didn't go any further,” Massucco said. “I went to Mr. Hawsawi's cell and I gave it to him.”
 
Prosecutors did not dispute that guards seized documents from the cells of Hawsawi and other Guantanamo prisoners.
 
The document seizure drew a rebuke from the judge, Army Colonel James Pohl. He said he has seen similar improper searches and seizures from Guantanamo guards on previous occasions as they looked for contraband.
 
Frequently, commanding officers use the excuse, “We have new people and they didn't know,” Pohl said.
 
Air Force Captain Michael Schwartz, one of the lawyers representing Yemeni defendant Walid bin Attash, said the intrusion into attorney-client mail was causing defendants to mistrust the confidential relationship and “negatively affecting our ability to do our job.”
 
The document seizure is the latest allegation of wrongdoing the defendants' attorneys have lodged against the U.S. military. Other allegations have included physical abuse and harassment.
 
The pretrial hearing in the death penalty case at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba was monitored by Reuters through closed-circuit television at the Fort Meade, Maryland, Army base.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid