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Judge finds Pentagon in contempt in Gitmo case

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December 10, 2009 02:04 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday ruled the Defense Department in contempt of court for failing to videotape the testimony of a Guantanamo Bay detainee so that the public and the news media could see it.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler is demanding a detailed explanation of why the Pentagon failed to follow her directions and tape the testimony of Mohammed Al-Adahi of Yemen. He testified June 23 in a challenge to his indefinite detention at the prison in Cuba.

In court papers, the government said the Defense Department inadvertently failed to tell the command at Guantanamo Bay to videotape the proceedings.

In August, Kessler ordered the government to "take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps" to facilitate Al-Adahi's release. The government is appealing Kessler's decision.

The judge said she wanted the testimony videotaped so as much of it as possible could be provided to the public and the news media.

Al-Adahi testified that he attended al-Qaida's Al Farouq training camp for seven to 10 days out of curiosity and was expelled for disobeying rules.

Al-Adahi readily acknowledged having met Osama bin Laden on two occasions and admitted that perhaps his relatives were bodyguards and enthusiastic followers of bin Laden, the judge wrote in her ruling in August.

The judge said, however, that "sensational and compelling as it may appear," that does not constitute reliable evidence to justify the government detaining Al-Adahi, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002.