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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yemeni prisoner at Gitmo to 'boycott' tribunal

Reuters-U.S. NAVAL BASE GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba -- A Yemeni accused of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden went before a U.S. military tribunal yesterday and said he would boycott his war-crimes trial because he did not recognize the tribunal's authority. (I wonder if he will recognize the gun that’s going to be used when he’s found guilty)

Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul, who has acknowledged that he is "from al Qaeda," is one of nine Guantanamo prisoners charged with crimes. Most of the 500 or so detainees have been held without charges for years in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The hearing began on the fourth anniversary of the camp's opening. "There's going to be a tribunal of God on the day of judgment," al Bahlul told the court in Arabic. "Do what you have to do and rule however you have to rule. ... God will rule based on justice." (And the sooner we can get you to him, you can find out if you’re right)

Al Bahlul ended his participation in the proceedings with one word in English: "boycott." Presiding officer Army Col. Peter Brownback set the suspect's trial tentatively for May 15. (The prosecutor then added the Arabic word for ‘dead meat’ and handed the paper back to Al Bahlul) Earlier in the hearing, he read a list of nine reasons why he refused to be represented by a military lawyer or to participate further, including the treatment of Palestinians by U.S. ally Israel -- "your allies, the Jews," he said -- and because his native country had been accused in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. (SOB…why waste time with a hearing)

"We are prisoners of war and legal combatants based on our religion and our religious law," he said. "We do not care about anything that you call us." (Fine, you’re totally screwed and you’re going to die) Maj. Fleener has called the tribunals a sham and said he thinks it is an ethical violation for him to represent a prisoner who has rejected his services. Col. Brownback ordered him to defend al Bahlul anyway. (An active duty JAG Officer called the proceedings a ‘sham’ – who is this puke’s CO and how can he get away with criticizing the proceedings)

The United States has faced criticism at home and abroad for its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo since the first group arrived from Afghanistan, shackled and wearing black-out goggles and surgical masks, on Jan. 11, 2002. (Reuters wants Gitmo to look ever so much like jails in Yemen, but can’t stomach the idea that even in the US, scum like Al Bahlul can get due process) Human rights groups have criticized rules allowing the use of evidence that may have been obtained through torture. (Thanks for your opinion Reuters – now go to hell!)

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