Indiana Appeals Court Judge Travels to Guantanamo Bay

Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Riley traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for U.S. Military Commission Hearings

Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Riley traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for U.S.  Military Commission Hearings as part of the Indiana University McKinney School of Law Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP) which is part of the law school’s Program in International Human Rights Law (PIHRL – pronounced “Pearl”) founded by Professor George Edwards in 1997.

Indiana Judge Speaks While Heading To Guantanamo Bay

Judge Patritica Riley (Indiana Court of Appeals) sent the following note in on Easter Monday, 21 April 2014, when she was waiting at Andrews Air Force Base for her flight to Guantanamo Bay. She will be monitoring hearings in the U.S. Military Commission case of 5 defendants accused of masterminding the attack on the USS Cole, a US naval ship docked in Yemen in 2000. That suicide attack killed 17 US sailors and injured over 30 other service personnel on the ship.

Judge Riley’s mission to GTMO (or Gitmo) is through the Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP) of the Indiana University McKinney School of  Law’s Program in International Human Rights Law (PIHRL) (pronounced “Pearl”), which was founded by Professor George Edwards in 1997. The Pentagon granted the PIHRL “NGO Observer Status”, which permits the program to send McKinney students, faculty, staff and graduates to monitor the Military Commissions.

Following are Judge Riley’s words from Andrews Air Force Base:

“Waiting at Andrews for  the plane to take us to Guantanamo Bay.  It is a normal waiting area but everyone is going to GITMO and each has a different role.  The victims and/or their families are here by lottery and may be sitting next to a member of the defense team.  The prosecutors may be sitting next to the observers from different NGOs.  Until we get to the base the roles each person will play are not talked about except in very general terms.

I’ve talked to Cassandra Adams who is a professor/mediator from Birmingham, Alabama who is a DIVO, defense initiated victim for outreach.  She will be sitting in an area designated for observers and is not able to approach the victims directly.  She is available if they need support

Dr. Susan Cosby, Boston,Mass, is here as a specialist for prisoners who have been tortured.  She has met with al-Nashiri on three different occasions.

I’m having coffee with Rick Kammen from the defense team.  They have all gathered together, as old friends would, getting caught up with matters that have popped up at the last minute.  There is a lot of chatter but I feel the underlying tension building as they each refer to the job ahead with seriousness and respect for each other’s roles.

Carol Rosenberg, reporter from Miami Herald,and only news reporter here, just told me that there is no wireless connection and you must pay $150/wk for an Ethernet connection that doesn’t work half the time.  I can register my device at the library and it might work at the local Starbucks.  Hard to believe that the connections are so poor.

I will be in touch as soon as I can.”

We are looking forward to more posts from Judge Riley! She is scheduled to be in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until Wednesday, 30 April 2014. She will fly back to Andrews Air Force Base on a military flight, and then return to Indianapolis.


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