The Army colonel presiding over the trial of five men accused of participating in the attacks of September 11, 2001 has ruled that attorneys for a consortium of media and civil liberties organizations may argue for increased transparency in the proceedings.
The lawyers for the 14 media groups (including the American Civil Liberties Union) filed motions with the military tribunal challenging a previously entered order that prevented publication of testimony considered “secret.”
Per the terms of the new one-page order issued by Judge James Pohl the lawyers will present their case for increased openness on August 22, the day on which a week of hearings on several pre-trial motions is set to begin.
The Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyer representing the Pentagon, Army Brigadier General Mark Martins, also agreed to allow the hearing without objection.
Attorneys for the so-called “Gitmo 5” did not object to the hearing of oral arguments on the motions against the protective order. In fact, an attorney for one of the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators welcomed the ruling.
“Oral argument from the media and ACLU will emphasize the critical public interest in open proceedings at Guantánamo,” said James Connell, the attorney representing Ammar al Baluchi, also known as Ali Abdul Aziz Ali.
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