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Guard gave erotic book to Guantanamo Bay prisoner, lawyer claims

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:48 p.m.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — A lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged in the Sept. 11 terror attack said on Wednesday that guards gave his client a contraband copy of the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” apparently as a joke or an attempt to discredit him.

The allegation was made weeks after a U.S. congressman returned from visiting the prison and said officials told him that the book was a favorite among men in Camp 7, the highest-security section of Guantanamo. It was a surprising comment since the military tightly restricts what prisoners can read and the novel is not in the main detainee library.

Attorney James Connell said his client, prisoner Ammar al-Baluchi, had never heard of the book until they discussed an article about the congressman's assertion Monday. That night, guards in Camp 7 appeared with a copy of it, he said.

The lawyer said al-Baluchi turned the book over to him, unread.

“He says, ‘No, thank you.' He does not want the book,” Connell said. “It's in my safe, and as soon as I am able, I will return it to Joint Task Force Guantanamo.”

The book does not have the mail stamp required for any material sent to prisoners from the outside, nor does it have a label from the detainee library, the lawyer said.

He said guards presented the book to al-Baluchi, who has been attending pretrial hearings this week in his death penalty war crimes case, as either a joke or “an attempt to plant something.” Connell said he did not plan to file a formal complaint, but added: “If this is a practical joke, it has gone too far.”

Connell disclosed the discovery in a weeklong hearing on procedural motions for the five prisoners facing charges that include terrorism and murder for their alleged roles in aiding and planning the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Al-Baluchi is a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Guantanamo prisoner who has portrayed himself as the mastermind of the plot.

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