A US GENERAL has been sentenced to three weeks confinement in Guantánamo Bay after being found guilty of contempt of court.
By JOSEPH CAREY
Marine Brigadier General John Baker was sentenced by Lieutenant Colonel Vance Spath after arguing that the facility had no jurisdiction over him.
Mr Baker had made the decision to release three civilian defence attorneys from the terror prison after they had resigned due to an unspecified ethics conflict involving an attorney-client privilege.
Mr Spath is the judge in the case surrounding Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the defendant in the case surrounding the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.
The brutal attack blew a hole in the hull of the vessel where 17 sailors were killed and 39 injured.
After the decision to sentence the general, Mr Spath then asked the three civilian lawyers to return to Guantánamo Bay or appear by video-link next week surrounding the terror case.
Nashiri faces a potential death sentence and has called for the trial to be halted as the only defence attorney left for the Saudi has never tried a murder case.
Mr Baker has been sentenced to 21 days confinement and a $1,000 (£753) fine – his quarters are located in a trailer park behind the courthouse.
Mr Spath called the general’s decision to release the lawyers as “null and void”.
The general had refused to rescind his order to the trio which allowed the judge to find him in contempt of court.
The three judges have been ordered to arrive in Guantánamo on Sunday with accompanying war staff.
Mr Baker is the second-highest ranking lawyer in the US Marine Corps.
The Pentagon issued a statement regarding the events in Guantánamo Bay.
It said: “Brigadier General Baker was escorted from the Expeditionary Legal Complex this afternoon by Naval Station Masters at Arms to serve the ordered confinement in his quarters at Naval Station Guantánamo Bay.
“Once General Baker returns to his quarters he will report telephonically every 2 hours other than 8 hours for sleep to verify that he has remained in quarters.
“There will not be a guard posted outside General Baker’s quarters as it is expected that as a senior officer he will comply with the conditions of confinement.
“As in any US State, Federal, or Military Court, the judge has the obligation and power to enforce decorum in the courtroom.
“The Convening Authority will determine whether to affirm, defer, suspend or disapprove the sentence in the next few days.”
Donald Trump threatened this week to send the Manhattan terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov to Guantánamo Bay.
The President was considering the move in the wake of the cycle path rampage which left eight people dead and at least 12 injured.
Islamic State fanatic Saipov, a 29-year old migrant from Uzbekistan, was said to be “gleeful” as he recovered in hospital from police bullet wounds in his stomach.
He had pledged allegiance to the terror network in a note found inside the rented van used to speed down a riverside cycle path.
Asked whether the controversial camp in Cuba was an option for Saipov, Mr Trump said: “I would certainly consider that. Send him to Guantanamo.
“We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”