US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — Self-declared 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be allowed to wear military-style camouflage at his Guantanamo Bay trial, a military judge ruled.
What KSM and four alleged co-conspirators will wear when they eventually appear before a military tribunal has been disputed in pre-trial hearings, but his defense argued that he had the right to choose military garb.
“Mr. Mohammed is a detained enemy prisoner of war. He wanted to wear the same type of uniform he wore while fighting for the US-supported Mujahedeen in Afghanistan and in Bosnia,” argued military lawyer Captain Jason Wright.
The defense also said it would argue that the defendants had not been, as the prosecution alleges, “unlawful combatants” but soldiers and thus denying them the right to military-style clothing would undermine his case.
Prosecutors argued that KSM should not be allowed to wear a uniform for security reasons, but the military judge, Colonel James Pohl, dismissed this concern at the pre-trial hearing Tuesday.
“Look around the room. How many guards are here?” he said.
“I’m not going to forbid the camouflage vest unless it is a US army uniform. The only prohibition — the accused cannot wear clothing inconsistent with his confinement status.”
Before Sheikh Mohammed, by his own admission, joined Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network and organized the attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York and Washington, he fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
In that war, the Afghan resistance was backed by foreign Islamist volunteers, supported in turn with weapons and cash by the United States and Saudi Arabia, before some of them went on to become anti-Western militants.