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US military judge grants defense lawyer access to resticted Guantanamo camp

[JURIST] US military judge Col. Ralph Kohlmann [JURIST news archive] ruled Monday that defense attorney Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier could gain access to Camp 7 [Miami Herald backgrounder], a special camp for alleged al Qaeda members classified as "high-value detainees" at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] military prison. Lachelier is the defense lawyer for Ramzi Binalshibh, who has been charged [text, PDF] with murder and war crimes for his alleged role in the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. She told the military court that she wants to know if Camp 7 conditions are contributing to Binalshibh's mental illnesses, including psychosis and schizophrenia, which could lead to a conclusion that he is incompetent to stand trial. Kohlmann on Monday denied requests that a defense psychologist also be allowed into the camp. Binalshibh, classified as an enemy combatant for his role in the attacks, faces the death penalty if convicted. AP has more.

Prisoners in Camp 7 are isolated from other prisoners to prevent violence against those who have provided information to interrogators, and the exact location of the camp has been kept secret to prevent a terrorist attack. The existence of the camp was not known until last December when it was mentioned [NYT report] in court papers [JURIST report] filed by lawyers for Majid Khan [GlobalSecurity profile], the first "high-value" Guantanamo Bay detainee to be allowed to meet privately with legal counsel.

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