Lawyers for the three prisoners also told the judge that the court’s official Indonesian translator expressed in 2020 the opinion that “the government is wasting money on these terrorists; they should have been killed a long time ago, ”and added that they had a sworn statement from a witness who heard the remark. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences in this case.
Mr Bin Lep’s lawyer Brian Bouffard said the Indonesian-American contract translator was “hopelessly biased”. Mr. Bin Amin’s lawyer, Christine Funk, asked why prosecutors needed an interpreter at the arraignment hearing: “Are they spying on us? I do not know.”
Trial Judge, Navy Cmdr. Hayes C. Larsen, tried to fix the problems. He gave the official court translation team 10-minute breaks every 20 minutes. He told defense attorneys to file lawsuits if they believed there were any interpretation issues that required redress. And he postponed the reading of the charges until Tuesday, which was the reason for Monday’s hearing.
Defense attorneys, civilian and military, all paid for by the Pentagon, described the case as still in its infancy. Prosecutors, they said, had provided perhaps 2% of the pre-trial documents that could be used in the case, including the records of the 2007 FBI interrogations with the prisoners shortly thereafter. their transfer to military detention by the CIA. Prosecutors declined to comment.
Mr Hambali’s lawyer, James R. Hodes, called the case “absurd”, in part because of the length of his client’s detention and the nearly two decades delay in laying charges against him. him. He told reporters ahead of the hearing that Mr. Hambali had been “brutalized” and spent at least half of his detention in solitary confinement. He said the prisoner owed “an apology” and repatriation, “not to be held in a cage on a Caribbean island”.
The hearings at Guantanamo were mainly conducted between English and Arabic, but also experienced translation problems. In 2015, one of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks dropped the name of a translator in court – and revealed that the linguist had previously worked for the CIA on a black site, exposing his identity and derailing a week of hearings. .