“They are housed in “Camp 7,” a maximum-security detention facility reserved for captives previously held in secret CIA prisons overseas. They are segregated from the general prisoner population in the facility, whose very existence was not publicly acknowledged until more than a year after their transfer to Guantanamo in 2006.
Navy Commander Walter Ruiz, a defense attorney for alleged al Qaeda money courier Mustafa al Hawsawi, said a two-day visit was needed to get an intimate understanding of the conditions of confinement.
Defense lawyers said harsh conditions could constitute illegal pretrial punishment, a potentially mitigating factor that could spare the defendants from the death penalty if they are convicted of war crimes that include terrorism, hijacking and attacking civilians. They want a 48-hour visit, plus follow-up visits every six months.
Prosecutors did not object to letting the defense into Camp 7 but said a two-day visit would be unduly disruptive. They proposed instead that the defense lawyers be allowed a one-time visit, during which they would not be allowed to speak to anyone except the personnel conducting the two-hour tour.
The judge did not immediately rule on the issue. But he did shed a glimmer of light as to who cut the audio-visual feed that provides limited public access to the hearings during Monday’s session.