The war court is in recess until April. This weeks testimony focused on whether intelligence agencies or troops have been disrupting confidential attorney-client communications in the death-penalty case, and the lawyers are still gathering evidence. In recent weeks, defense lawyers have discovered hidden microphones in their meeting room at the prison and a secret censor who until recently could mute what spectators could hear from the war court.
Besides Mohammed, a Pakistani man whom the CIA waterboarded 183 times before he ever got to Guantánamo, the others facing charges who came to court Thursday were: His Pakistani nephew, Ammar al Baluchi, 35, who had no documents seized from his cell, and Saudi Mustafa al Hawsawi, 44, whose lawyer said had a legal pad of attorney-client notes seized.
Most of the morning was dominated by one defense lawyers questioning by video feed of the Pentagons top official responsible for the Guantánamo war court, retired Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald, whos title is convening authority for military commissions.
MacDonald, who divides his work time among Washington state, Washington, D.C., and Guantánamo, cleared the Sept. 11 conspiracy case for arraignment on May 5 over defense teams objections. The defense lawyers argued they had insufficient time or resources to present a proper file arguing that the mens mistreatment in CIA custody before they got to Guantánamo meant it should not go forward as a death-penalty case.
MacDonald at one point began shouting at Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, defense lawyer for Hawsawi, as the two men disagreed over whether Ruiz was provided with a proper translator to speak with the Saudi captive.