GUANTANAMO BAY US NAVAL BASE, Cuba - US lawyers defending the Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks on Tuesday sought permission to spend 48 hours in the top-secret prison where the alleged al-Qaida conspirators have awaited trial for more than six years.
"You want to sleep with your client?" Army tribunal judge Colonel James Pohl asked one of the lawyers during a hearing, provoking snickers in the courtroom at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba.
Pohl said he had not intended to be flippant but was trying to pin down whether the military and civilian defense lawyers were asking to sleep on cots in their clients' cells. The five defendants, who skipped their pretrial hearing on Tuesday, are accused of training and aiding the hijackers who are accused of killing 2,976 people in the United States in 2001.
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.