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First Guantanamo detainee hearing in new court complex delayed by technical glitch

[JURIST] A technical problem delayed the start of the arraignment hearing for Yemeni Guantanamo detainee Ali Hamza Ahman Sulayman al-Bahlul Wednesday when a courtroom sound feed in the brand new Guantanamo legal compound cut off for reporters in the spectator gallery. The compound's military commissions building is part of the US military's Expeditionary Legal Complex [ABC News report], otherwise known as Camp Justice [AFPS report], a drastically-scaled down version of a larger Guantanamo Bay legal facility [JURIST report] intended to house hundreds of lawyers, journalists and courtroom personnel during upcoming detainee trials. The commissions building itself includes a courtroom, detainee holding area, judges’ chambers and a press gallery. AP has more. The Miami Herald has additional coverage.

As national and international pressure increased last year for closing the Guantanamo military prison, Pentagon plans for a permanent three-courtroom structure costing an estimated $125 million were dramatically cut back in favor of a much more limited $12 million facility with a single courtroom and accommodations for some 500 lawyers, journalists and staff. Nearly one hundred Quonset-style tents are currently set on an abandoned airfield where Cuban boat refugees were housed in the 1990s. The single windowless "courthouse" - the military commissions building - is made of corrugated metal.

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