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Guantanamo prisoner and lawyer boycott trial

•  Headline News     updated  2008/10/27 14:16

A Yemeni man accused of being Al-Qaida's former media director and his Pentagon-appointed lawyer refused to talk Monday, but their boycott didn't stop a military judge from beginning Guantanamo's second war crimes trial.

Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, facing a possible life sentence, sat silently at his defense table in a tan prison jumpsuit. His lawyer, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, said al-Bahlul was boycotting Guantanamo's second war-crimes trial because he rejects a military attorney and has been barred from representing himself. Frakt then declared he would also remain silent while in the courtroom in respect of al-Bahlul's wishes.

Frakt refused to respond when asked by the judge if he wished to question a pool of 13 potential jurors — all U.S military officers flown in from other U.S. bases over the weekend.

More than half the jury pool told a Marine prosecutor, Maj. Charles Hale, that they had previously served in the military commission process for former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks, who wound up serving a nine-month prison sentence in his native Australia under a plea deal before the case went to trial here.

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