Oct 16, 2012
Defense attorneys informed the court that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) has a right to wear a military uniform to court under the Geneva Convention. Perhaps even more alarming is the fact that his counsel argued that KSM could wear a military uniform because the U.S. government employed him during the U.S. 1980 proxy war with the USSR in Afghanistan.
During the 1980s Soviet-Afghanistan conflict, the U.S. channeled millions of dollars to the Mujahedeen rebels in Afghanistan that effectively contributed to the USSR’s breakup and nearly bankrupted the former cold war foe.
Legal authorities cite a recent precedent regarding the ability of detainees to wear military uniforms is found in the trial of brutal Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. During Saddam Hussein’s trial, the new Iraqi government refused to let the former dictator wear his uniform – even though he was actually a legitimate Iraqi military officer – something allowed under the Geneva Conventions. However, he was not allowed to wear his uniform at his trial, nor was he entitled to be shot by a firing squad because he was tried for criminal activities under UN crimes against humanity. Thus Saddam Hussein, under the same Geneva Conventions, was not allowed to wear a uniform. These same authorities suggest KSM would most likely be denied the right to wear a military uniform because he is charged with crimes against civilians and cannot establish a military connection to his alleged crimes.
It is not clear how long U.S. Army Colonel, Judge James Pohl, would take to render his decision.
“The commission will issue a written order. Prohibitions: cannot wear clothing inconsistent with his confinement status; can’t wear parts or whole of a US military uniform. Cannot wear anything the JTF CDR can articulate would be a legitimate security concern,” Kevin R. Powers, assistant legal advisor for the Office of Military Commissions Convening Authority said.
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