Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Saudi Prisoner Slams Then Leaves Guantanamo Hearing

Go to Reuters original
In a hearing plagued by translation problems on Wednesday, a Saudi Arabian prisoner first criticized and then boycotted the U.S. war crimes court where he is accused of plotting with al Qaeda to blow up ships in the Middle East.

With the aid of Arabic-English translators, defendant Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi understood the proceedings well enough to tell the military judge that he believed the court at a U.S. naval base in a remote corner of Cuba was “a scam.”

“I believe there is no international court or local court in the United States that treats detainees or accused people the same way we are treated here,” al Darbi said.

History, he added, would record the trials as “a scandal.”

The translator quoted al Darbi several times as calling the tribunal “illegal.” But the military lawyer assigned to defend him, Army Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, later said that was a mistranslation and the transcript would be corrected to show he had actually called it “a violation of human rights.”

The exchange was difficult to follow because the translators could not keep up and their voices competed with that of the judge, making it difficult to hear either.

The judge, Army Col. James Pohl, recessed the hearing for about an hour while the problems were fixed, then resumed questioning al Darbi about whether he wanted a military or civilian lawyer.

Al Darbi answered nearly every question with a criticism of the court. After being advised that his attendance was voluntary, he asked to leave and was escorted out by guards.


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