Peoria Public Radio Staff
Thu February 21, 2013
Sept. 11 Trial Judge Gives Defense Attorneys Access To 'Camp 7'
Defense attorneys in the trial of the five men accused of orchestrating the terror attacks on September 11th will get to see for the first time where their clients are incarcerated.
The army judge presiding over the trial at Guantanamo Bay said today he will allow the lawyers to visit a secret section of the prison.
It's known as Camp 7 and it's nestled in the crevice of a hill at Guantanamo Bay. It is considered so secret that that the only time outsiders see it is on approach to the airfield at the naval base.
Even then, military officials won't confirm that's where detainees like the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants are being held.
All because, officials say, even the location of the Camp 7 is classified.
So, it was a little surprising today when Col. James Pohl the judge presiding over the 9/11 case said he would allow the defense to see Camp 7 up close.
He said that three members of each 9/11 defense team could visit this secret section of the camp one time for no more than 12 straight hours.
As the details of the visit are worked out, defense attorneys say the judge's ruling gives them a rare opportunity to spend time with the clients outside the confines of a courtroom or an interview room.
And that, according to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's lawyer, David Nevin, is critical in death penalty cases.
"It is a duty of a capital defender to develop a relationship of trust through an interactive dialogue with the client," Nevin said. "That's the standard of care, that's how you begin."
The defense had asked the judge for even more access to their clients. They wanted to spend 48 hours — including overnights — in prison with their clients. And to do that once every six months.
The prosecution objected saying it would be too disruptive for the detention center. The judge agreed.
The defense also wanted to interview guards. The judge said no to that too.