National TV Broadcast Requested for USS Cole Trial

Defense lawyers for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of masterminding al-Qaida’s 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole, have asked for broadcast around the world of the Guantánamo death-penalty trial before a military commission.

In a first for a war court, according to a Miami Herald article, the attorneys asked for broadcasting the trial far beyond  closed-circuit broadcasts for audiences at Pentagon-controlled viewing rooms in suburban Washington, D.C. and Virginia, to broad national and international audiences.

Such broadcasts would permit members of the public to “decide for themselves if this is truly a legitimate proceeding entitled to respect as the prosecutor argues, or is it a sham, a kangaroo court as the defense and many observers suggest,” the lawyers argued in a brief.

Pentagon lawyers said the closed-circuit system planned for al-Nashiri’s trial was patterned after one set up in a federal court for the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted as an al-Qaida accomplice in the 2001 terror attacks.

“To date, it has been the [Defense] department’s position that a version of the federal courts standard is the appropriate one, in terms of access for the media and members of the public,” said Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale.

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