2nd Guantanamo trial hits snag as prisoner boycotts, lawyer asks to be relieved

Other News Materials 27 October 2008 22:26 (UTC +04:00)

A military judge is struggling to begin Guantanamo's second war crimes trial after a former aide to Osama bin Laden refused to participate, and his Pentagon-appointed lawyer says he would remain silent in solidarity, the Associated Press reported.

Ali Hamza al-Bahlul is facing a possible life sentence. He sat mutely at the defense table Monday as his lawyer announced the prisoner would boycott the trial because he did not want a military attorney.

The appointed lawyer, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, says he has to respect his client's wishes and asked to be relieved. When the judge refused, the defense attorney said then he, too, could not participate.

The judge then adjourned the session. He says the burden will be on the prosecution team to prove any guilt.