Charter flight from Guantánamo makes emergency landing in Miami



A MiamiAir charter flight to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Navy base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was forced to make an emergency landing at Miami International Airport shortly after noon Friday because of engine trouble.

The Boeing 737-800 landed routinely, and passengers were processed through Customs and Immigration before being rerouted to Andrews AFB.

The nearly full plane of 141 passengers carried attorneys, 9/11 victim family members, translators, journalists and others who had been in Guantánamo for hearings in the death-penalty trial of the men accused of planning the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Among those on board were the chief judge of the Guantánamo war court, Army Col. James L. Pohl, the Pentagon’s chief war crimes prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, and Boise, Idaho, attorney David Nevin, the Pentagon-paid defense attorney for the alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

One of two pilots aboard the plane, Steve Joffrion, said the crew detected a “very minor” problem with one of the two engines after takeoff from the base in Cuba. They diverted the flight to Miami as a “strictly precautionary” measure.

Hearings are held in a crude legal compound at Guantánamo with the Pentagon maintaining an air bridge of charter flights that bring in virtually everyone involved in the court but the accused, and their guards.

Jay Connell, attorney for alleged 9/11 plotter Ammar al Baluchi, said Friday’s episode a day after the war court went dark until April demonstrates the difficulties of the expeditionary justice system started by President George W. Bush then modified and kept by the Obama administration..

“Everything about working at Guantánamo is hard,” he said as he stood on line with hundreds of others to show his passport for re-entry into the United States from the U.S.-controlled corner of southeast Cuba.

The cockpit announced the flight was being diverted before noon, while flights attendants were serving a chicken and rice lunch to the forward portion of the cabin and the mixture of military and civilian passengers were watching Bourne Legacy.

Read more Guantánamo stories from the Miami Herald

Accused USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a Saudi, shown at left in a photo before his capture by the CIA in 2002 and by sketch artist Janet Hamlin during a 2011 arraignment at Guántanamo.


    Court: Poland violated human rights in CIA case

    Europe's top human rights court ruled Thursday that Poland violated the rights of two terror suspects by allowing the CIA to secretly imprison them on Polish soil from 2002-2003 and facilitating the conditions under which they were subject to torture.

Algerian Djamel Ameziane, a 42-year-old ethnic Berber, has been approved for release but wants to go to Canada, or another country, rather than the nation he fled in 1992. His lawyers have chosen Canada because he lived there for five years, and filed a failed application for political asylum. From Canada he went to Afghanistan, where he was captured in the U.S. invasion.


    Ex-Guantánamo detainee can’t get his money back

    Federal judge concludes a former Guantánamo detainee may no longer be a threat, but his money is.

The Kremlin.

    Russia bans congressman, 12 other Americans

    Russia has placed a U.S. lawmaker and 12 other people connected with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq on its list of those banned from entering the country.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category