However, the complexity becomes even greater when it comes to Guantánamo, which in normal times is essentially a commuter court that opens with the arrival of the judge, lawyers, stenographers, translators and other staff aboard a chartered aircraft from Joint Base Andrews outside Washington becomes.
In Guantánamo’s most famous case – the lengthy trial of the defendants in the September 11, 2001 conspiracy – the government decided to prosecute five men at the same time for plotting in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Hearings typically require more than 100 grassroots people, including experienced death penalty attorneys, some in their seventies who live outside the Washington area and are now considered particularly at risk if they travel in the pandemic.
Over the weekend, Chief Justice of the Court Martial, Colonel Douglas K. Watkins of the Army, canceled plans for a court hearing on a veteran al-Qaida courier, Majid Khan, in a makeshift courtroom in Reston, Virginia. Given the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Colonel Watkins declared it too risky to hold the hearing because he had come from Texas and two defense attorneys had come from New York and Connecticut.
When he canceled, one of Mr. Khan’s attorneys, Colonel Wayne J. Aaron of the Army, ended the two-week quarantine in a small trailer in Guantánamo to allow the prisoner to sit in the courtroom with the prisoner remotely.
Mr. Khan, who grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, pleaded guilty in 2012. This week’s hearing was intended to discuss witnesses for his sentencing, which is slated for May in Guantánamo – after two weeks of quarantine for the participants, followed by a week-long CIA declaratory hearing of the prisoner’s torture
For the Khan hearing, the Pentagon in Fort Meade, Md., Had set up an observation site where four socially distant journalists could follow the events in feeds that would have switched between Guantánamo and Virginia. Reporters can usually travel to Guantánamo to observe the hearings.