Mohammed Kamin is an Afghan national who has been held in Guantánamo since at least 2004 and who faces a potential life sentence if convicted. He was allegedly captured on May 14, 2003, in Khowst, Afghanistan. He has repeatedly refused to attend his military commission hearings or speak with his defense counsel, and the judge presiding over his case has asked that an inquiry be made into his mental health.
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Kamin is charged with providing material support for terrorism. He is accused of joining al Qaeda and receiving weapons training in Afghanistan between January and May 2003, conducting surveillance on U.S. military bases, transporting weapons and communications equipment to assist in attacks on American forces, placing explosive devices under a bridge in Afghanistan, and placing missiles to launch into a U.S. or Coalition base.
Charges were sworn against Kamin on March 12, 2008, and referred for military commission trial on April 7, 2008. During his arraignment on May 21, 2008, Kamin was forcibly escorted to the courtroom, said he did not want a trial, and refused to accept legal representation.
On July 21, 2008, Judge W. Thomas Cumbie ordered the Commander of Joint Task Force – Guantánamo to provide the prosecution with all of Kamin’s medical records within three days, so that the information may then be handed over to defense counsel.
Kamin refused to attend his July 31, 2008 pretrial hearing during which his Pentagon-appointed lawyer sought permission to visit Kamin in his cell. On August 6, 2008, Judge Cumbie rejected defense counsel’s request.
Kamin also refused to appear at his October 23, 2008 hearing, at which the court considered whether Kamin is competent to waive his right to counsel and defense counsel argued that the government is withholding documents that are critical to the case.
At his July 16, 2009 pretrial hearing, which Kamin again declined to attend, his defense counsel, Navy Lt. Richard Federico, explained that Kamin had refused to meet with him for over a year, and has instructed defense counsel not to speak on his behalf.
On August 24, 2009, Judge W. Thomas Cumbie ordered that an inquiry be made into the mental capacity of the accused and a report recording the results of the inquiry to be filed by the end of September, 2009.
Following the government’s third motion for a continuance, a pretrial hearing occurred on November 18, 2009. The hearing was scheduled to cover recently submitted reports regarding Kamin’s mental capacity. It also allowed for oral arguments on defense motions for appropriate relief on the following issues: material support for terrorism; an order for production of discovery for photographs of Joint Task Force-Guantánamo camps; and an order for production of discovery for contact information for individuals involved in Mr. Kamin’s capture. An HRF observer monitoring the hearing reported that the defense informed the court that they had not yet received many of Kamin’s statements from government prosecutors. Moreover, while Kamin has been interrogated 17 times, summaries and/or transcripts of what was said at those meetings had only been provided to the defense for four sessions. Further issues arose regarding difficulties in tracking down two men believed to have been involved in Kamin’s interrogations, as well as questions surrounding the use of certain terminology used in Kamin’s charges—precedent for which, in a new system of military commissions, is at times uncertain.
In December 2009, the charges against Kamin were dismissed without prejudice. However, we now expect to see charges against him re-filed and for his case to proceed in military commissions.