Environment of Fear Is Not Necessary – The 911 Hearings – Salam Almarhoon

On June 16, 2014, I attended the hearing of persons accused of masterminding the attacks of 11 September 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The hearing was aired via a secure video line to Ft. Meade. I have conflicting thoughts about the whole process.

Alleged Mistreatment of 9-11 Defendants

The first thing that caught my attention is the defense team of Ramzi bin al-Shibha (RBS) mentioned that RBS was mistreated repeatedly inside the prison. The prison guards give RBS a hard time. This includes the night just before the hearing when the guards awakened RBS after he just fall asleep. I looked up on the internet and found a video from Al Jazeera Arabic about the same topic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JBjDntXEOU). The video has been on Youtube since Dec 18, 2013. The video mentioned that RBS was fired from pre-hearing session because he complained about continuous mistreatment he receives by the prison guards.

Seven months after this incident, the issue still has not been resolved by the judge although it was brought to his honor! The integrity of the whole process is on the stake here. What is the point of this trial if the defendant is suffering from an environment of fear and discomfort created by prison guards whenever he has trial-related sessions or meetings? This affects his interaction and trust level with his defense team negatively. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed as one of the first steps for fair trial. The defendant, RBS or anyone else, shouldn’t be afraid of communicating his thought with his defense team or fear any mistreatment because doing so.

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