Charges in Bali Bombing Case Are Delayed at Guantánamo

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The 3 prisoners were to beryllium charged for the archetypal time, 18 years aft their capture. Translation problems mean they hold 1 much day.

Delays person  plagued ineligible  proceedings astatine  Guantánamo Bay astir   20 years aft  it was chosen to clasp  detainees captured aft  the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Credit...Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Carol Rosenberg

Aug. 30, 2021Updated 9:08 p.m. ET

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Translation and mentation problems connected Monday delayed by 1 time subject efforts to formally complaint 3 Southeast Asian men — held by the United States for 18 years — with conspiring successful deadly violent bombings successful Indonesia successful 2002 and 2003.

Prosecutors impeach the 3 prisoners — Encep Nurjaman, who is known arsenic Hambali; Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep; and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin — of murder, terrorism and conspiracy successful the 2002 nightclub bombings successful Bali, which killed 202 people, and the 2003 Marriott edifice bombing successful Jakarta, which killed astatine slightest 11 radical and wounded astatine slightest 80.

Defense lawyers person called them torture victims who spent astir 3 years successful the concealed C.I.A. situation web wherever agents utilized waterboarding, slumber deprivation, beatings, achy shackling and different present outlawed “enhanced interrogation” techniques to extract accusation from their captives.

In 2003, a C.I.A. interrogator told Mr. Hambali that helium would ne'er spell to court, due to the fact that “we tin ne'er fto the satellite cognize what I person done to you,” according to a survey of the C.I.A. program that was released by the Senate Intelligence Committee successful December 2014.

Monday’s ceremonial charging was meant to beryllium a crossroads of sorts, the commencement of proceedings successful a lawsuit that was approved by a Trump medication appointee connected Jan. 21, the archetypal afloat time of President Biden’s medication — and postponed by six months by pandemic restrictions.

The proceedings ended up being the latest illustration of the delays that person plagued Guantánamo’s justness strategy astir 20 years aft it was chosen to clasp detainees captured aft the Sept. 11 attacks and successful the planetary effort to way down terrorists.

At slightest 5 CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" oregon rectal feeding without documented aesculapian necessity. The CIA placed detainees successful crystal h2o "baths." The CIA led respective detainees to judge they would ne'er beryllium allowed to permission CIA custody alive, suggesting to 1 detainee that helium would lone permission successful a coffin-shaped box. One interrogator told different detainee that helium would ne'er spell to court, due to the fact that "we tin ne'er fto the satellite cognize what I person done to you."

The captive known arsenic Hambali made his archetypal tribunal quality astatine Guantanamo connected Monday, contempt a vow by a C.I.A. interrogator backmost successful 2003 that helium would ne'er beryllium allowed to bash so.

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All 3 men person been successful the custody of the United States since 2003, and person been held astatine Guantánamo arsenic members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian extremist group. Mr. Hambali, who is Indonesian, is accused of allying himself with Osama bin Laden’s planetary jihad, and sending Mr. Bin Amin and Mr. Bin Lep, erstwhile architecture students who met successful assemblage successful Malaysia, to bid successful Qaeda camps successful Afghanistan.

Translation and method issues were evident astatine the outset. One lawyer pointed retired that a captive had mentioned “Google” successful a remark successful Malay for the judge, but the tribunal interpreter did not notation the hunt motor successful an English translation. The Indonesian translator turned “legal training” successful English into “training legal” successful Bahasa Indonesian.

Defense lawyers said with alarm that each 3 defendants recognized a “Mr. Singh,” a translator with whom they each had confidential conversations arsenic they prepared to question merchandise done a reappraisal committee hearing, sitting beside the pb authoritative successful tribunal connected Monday, present moving for the prosecution.

Lawyers for the 3 prisoners besides told the justice that the court’s authoritative Indonesian translator had successful 2020 offered the sentiment that “the authorities is wasting wealth connected these terrorists; they should person been killed a agelong clip ago,” and added that they had a sworn affidavit from a witnesser who heard the remark. Prosecutors are seeking beingness sentences successful the case.

Mr. Bin Lep’s lawyer, Brian Bouffard, declared the Indonesian American declaration translator “irretrievably biased.” Mr. Bin Amin’s lawyer, Christine Funk, questioned wherefore the prosecutors needed an interpreter astatine the arraignment proceeding successful the archetypal place: “Are they spying connected us? I don’t know.”

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Credit...Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The proceedings judge, Navy Cmdr. Hayes C. Larsen, tried to mend the problems. He gave the authoritative tribunal translation squad 10-minute breaks each 20 minutes. He told defence lawyers to record ineligible motions if they believed determination were mentation problems that required remedies. And helium postponed until Tuesday the speechmaking of the charges, which was the crushed for Monday’s hearing.

Defense lawyers, some civilian and military, and each paid by the Pentagon, described the lawsuit arsenic inactive successful its infancy. Prosecutors, they said, had provided possibly 2 percent of the pretrial documents that could beryllium utilized successful the case, including accounts of interrogations the F.B.I. did successful 2007 with the prisoners soon aft their transportation to subject custody from the C.I.A. Prosecutors declined to comment.

Mr. Hambali’s lawyer, James R. Hodes, called the lawsuit “absurd,” successful portion due to the fact that of the magnitude of his client’s detention and the astir two-decade hold successful bringing charges against him. He told reporters earlier the proceeding that Mr. Hambali had been “brutalized” and spent astatine slightest fractional of his detention successful solitary confinement. He said the captive was owed “an apology” and repatriation, “not to beryllium held successful a cage successful a Caribbean island.”

Hearings astatine Guantánamo person been mostly held betwixt English and Arabic, but person besides suffered translation problems. In 2015, 1 of the men accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks blurted retired the sanction of a translator successful tribunal — and disclosed that the linguist had antecedently worked for the C.I.A. astatine a achromatic site, exposing his individuality and derailing a week of hearings.

Finding U.S. translators with top-secret information clearances who talk Southeast Asian languages has seemingly proved adjacent much of a challenge. The Senate survey of the C.I.A.’s interrogation programme cited a January 2004 cablegram from a concealed detention tract that reported that Mr. Bin Lep’s “English is precise poor, and we bash not person a Malay linguist.”

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