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Published: Sunday, 10/12/2008

Judge denies 9/11 detainees Internet access


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico A U.S. military judge has denied a request from professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for Internet access inside his Guantanamo cell, ruling he does not need it to prepare for his death penalty trial.

Judge Ralph Kohlmann, a Marine colonel, said Mohammed knew he would face prison restrictions when he chose to act as his own lawyer. His Oct. 6 ruling which also applies to four co-defendants was reviewed Sunday on a Pentagon Web site.

The five defendants held at the Guantanamo Bay Navy base face charges including conspiracy, hijacking, and terrorism for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

The government said it was providing the men with laptop computers so they could review the evidence, but prosecutors argued at a pretrial hearing last month that giving them access to the outside world would pose a severe security risk.

The five high-value inmates are held apart from the general detainee population in a hidden prison reserved for Guantanamo detainees transferred out of secret CIA custody.

Kohlmann also rejected the inmates requests for office equipment such as printers and special provisions to speak with their family members by telephone. But he ruled the men are entitled to have additional resources installed on their laptops including a legal dictionary, the U.S. Constitution, and the Geneva Conventions.

Three of the five defendants including Mohammed are representing themselves with Pentagon-appointed attorneys serving as standby counsel.

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