After 18 years of US detention, first in secret CIA torture facilities and then at Guantánamo, an Indonesian and two Malaysian prisoners accused of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings had an arraignment hearing on 30 August, at which they were to be formally informed of the charges against them. They face eight and nine charges respectively which include conspiracy, attempted murder, murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, destruction of property, and attacking civilians and civilian objects. The hearing which was due to take place in early 2021 was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of the hearing, the case acquired a new judge and Indonesian prisoner Hambali’s defence lawyer for the past 4 years, Major James Valentine, retired from the US Marines and the case. In spite of the extra time to organise the hearing, it was plagued by problems with interpreters which led to it being delayed on the first day.
Ahead of the resumption of pre-trial hearings in the case of five men accused of involvement in terrorist attacks in New York City in September 2001 next month, the fourth judge in the case, which has yet to have a trial date set 20 years after the events took place, has been appointed. Lt. Col. Matthew McColl has been appointed to the case even though he only qualified to hear death penalty cases in July and has served as a military judge for two years. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/us/politics/military-judge-sept-11-trial.html
In early August, defence lawyers for the five defendants filed a motion to have the hearing set back in view of the Covid-19 restrictions and the lack of a judge in the case, among other matters. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/ae-815-k-ksm-mtr-ae-815-j-scheduling-ord/a9e136e668f86605/full.pdf The new judge, however, has approved the two-week hearing set to start 6 September.
Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who “disappeared” with her 3 young children in Pakistan in 2003 and reappeared in US custody in Afghanistan several years, currently serving an 86-year sentence in the US, is reported to have been injured after being attacked by an inmate at the maximum security prison she is being held at in Texas. A cup filled with scalding liquid was thrown in her face injuring her and leaving her in serious pain; she had to be removed from her cell in a wheelchair. During her detention, Dr Siddiqui has had limited access to her family and her lawyers.
The September monthly Shut Guantánamo! protest is on Thursday 2nd September at 12-2pm outside the US Embassy in Nine Elms (Nine Elms Lane, SW11 7US, nearest underground: Vauxhall). https://www.facebook.com/events/366996018133518/ If you require more details about this event, please email us at london.gtmo [at] gmail.com