MIAMI (AP) — A U.S. Navy Reserve lawyer who is also a Massachusetts state Senate candidate was taken into custody and jailed overnight after refusing a judge's order to testify in a case at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Stephen Gill was taken by the U.S. Marshals Service to the Washington area, where he testified Wednesday by videoconference in a pretrial hearing in the case of a Saudi national charged in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. He was then released.
Gill lost the Republican primary for state Senate in a district south of Boston and is running as an independent write-in candidate. He was called as a witness regarding allegations of improper activities at a Pentagon legal office in charge of overseeing the trials by military commission at Guantanamo.
He previously testified by videoconference in September but then said he was unavailable to return to the stand on Tuesday as directed by the court. The judge, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, ordered him brought to military legal offices in Arlington, Virginia.
Gill did not immediately respond to messages asking why he had refused to testify this week.
It is the first time the military commission at Guantanamo has used Marshals to compel testimony. A Virginia-based federal public defender, Geremy Kamens, sought Wednesday to intervene on Gill's behalf with a letter to the court asserting it may not be legal for the military to detain a civilian. But Spath rejected the argument and ordered the testimony.
"The judge said Gill was not entitled to a lawyer even though he had been arrested and detained, and that's pretty outrageous," Kamens said later.
Gill was called to testify about allegations that Pentagon legal staff continued to involve themselves in issues related to proceedings against alleged Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri after Spath had ordered them to step aside in 2015 because of improper interference in the case. Nashiri is facing a possible death sentence for his role in the October 2000 attack that killed 17 sailors.