All five of the men who got to Guantánamo in 2006 from CIA custody were allowed to wear their skullcaps to court, Woods said in the affidavit, in recognition of their cultural and religious significance.
And they were allowed to bring their prayer rugs with them, unfurling them inside the maximum-security courtroom during breaks.
But Woods wrote he was forbidding clothing that is inconsistent with the decorum and dignity of a court proceeding whether in the United States or the Middle East.
Plus, no vests allowed. Or anything with pockets, a potential means of removing unauthorized items from the courtroom.
Excessive clothing could potentially complicate the guards ability to gain control of a detainee.
Guards brought four of the Sept. 11 defendants to court unshackled. Bin Attash was brought in a restraint chair like those once used for forced feedings of prisoners, with his prosthetic leg detached due to an unspecific episode prior to the hearing. Eventually he was freed.
Bin Attash lost a leg in fighting in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks and also planned to dress paramilitary style for court. His lawyers got him a foul-weather jacket of the Desert Camouflage Uniform print, similar to those warn by U.S. Coast Guard members at the war court, according to Woods affidavit. It was not culturally appropriate courtroom clothing, Woods said.
Woods spokesman did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment, including whether the admiral consulted with the judge, an Army colonel, on what would constitute culturally appropriate clothing in his court.
At the May 5 hearing, the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, said he was willing to take up the issue. The rule is they are entitled to wear appropriate non-prison garb attire, Pohl said, adding that if Woods made some arbitrary and capricious decision on that, let me know about it and I will revisit it.
The motion seeks to do just that. It argues that the men are still suffering from their treatment in CIA custody Mohammed was water boarded 183 times and that Woods arbitrary, unpredictable and standardless denial of the detainees right to wear appropriate clothing to court replicated the psychologically disruptive nature of the CIA procedures.
Also, they argue that Woods is prejudicing the case against them by forbidding them to wear items of clothing customarily worn by belligerents within the context of hostilities under the laws of armed conflict reverses the presumption of innocence. Mohammed is the self-described former chief of operations of al Qaida and has called himself a revolutionary just like George Washington.
At the prison camps they are held as the enemy. But at the war court they are afforded a presumption of innocence, according to the Pentagon, one reason why earlier judges have urged defendants not to wear their prison camps uniform to court. But one of the accused, Saudi Mustafa al Hawsawi, wanted to wear an orange jumpsuit to court, which Woods forbade, citing institutional and security concerns.
Only certain captives are kept in orange jumpsuits, the admiral wrote, and Hawsawi is not among them.
But orange jumpsuits have been seen at the war court before: Afghan teen Mohammed Jawad, since released after a federal judge ruled him unlawfully detained, was arraigned in March 2008 in an orange jumpsuit and ankle shackles, demonstrating he was uncooperative with his captors. And two years earlier Binyam Mohamed donned a traditional Pakistani tunic and trousers, a shalwar khameez, that his lawyer had had dyed jumpsuit orange in London for his arraignment. Mohamed has since been released to live in Britain, and cleared of all charges.
Hawsawis attorney, Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, said the Saudi wanted to wear the orange jumpsuit because it more accurately reflects his status as a political prisoner in relation to war hostilities rather than the softer and less accurate detainee. It was provided, he said, by a founder of the Code Pink anti-war group, Medea Benjamin.