Friday, October 13, 2006

Day Five

Day Five Wednesday October 11, 2006

The next morning I was sitting in our 0700 staff meeting. Vitali was not there. MAJ Brown, the XO was conducting the meeting. He received a phone call and looked at me and said that “he will be right there.” It was Vitali summoning me to MGM’s office. I borrowed keys to a truck and hurried up there. I knew it was going to be about the funeral.

Sure enough, MGM wanted to let Subject A go to the funeral. The cynic in me had to ask the General if in fact Subject A’s grandmother was dead. He assured me that he investigated it and she was. I still didn’t think she was dead. In fact, I don’t think he really had a grandmother. I think he is a spawn of the devil and hatched from some putrid pile of slime. OK, I wanted to say something else again but refrained.

Anyway, MGM was explaining that culturally, he needed to be at the funeral. COL Vitali and I once again had to argue why he should not be released. I let the General know what he had been doing and that if he was released he’d be able to carry out his own plans. Because MGM wanted to know who had the authority to release Subject A and because Karim wasn’t at work yet, he summoned the Chief Judge to his office to interpret the code and to discuss who had the authority to release him and under what conditions. In the US, the judge would never be involved in these types of discussions. The judge must remain absolutely impartial and unaware of the facts until they’re presented in court. Here, it works a little differently. The judge actually gets a copy of the entire file when the indictment is filed. I know, it seems weird to those of us who are used to our way of justice but that’s the way it works. So, while I was a little uncomfortable with the Chief Judge sitting there, I knew that he would ultimately get the case file anyway.

Fortunately the judge said that it was the prosecutor who had the authority to release the defendant. He said that while most times the prison would release a prisoner for a funeral, there were times when it was not appropriate. He basically laid out the same reasons that I’d already told the General. It was great to be validated by the Chief Judge.

MGM still wasn’t convinced. While we were meeting, he got a call from Burger King to come see him at the Ministry of Defense. MGM was visibly not happy about such a meeting. Neither were we. After MGM left, I met with Karim to discuss what might happen. The fear was that Burger King would pressure MGM enough that he would order the prosecutor to release Subject A. Karim, to his credit, said, that he would rather be fired than allow Subject A to be released. I was thrilled to hear that.

After my meeting with Karim, we had a visit from a senior officer from our higher’s higher command. Does that make sense? Vitali and I met with him and outlined our case. During that meeting, we got a call that Mangal had returned. We immediately went up to the hill to meet with him to see what had happened with his meeting with Burger King. We were pleased to find out that Burger King only wanted to find out if MGM was the one to place Subject A in PTC or if it was the Americans and whether or not there was enough evidence to support the charge. MGM said that Burger King had not pressured him to do anything. That was great. We actually had a very pleasant visit. As we were walking out, he couldn’t help himself, and said that it would be nice if Subject A could be released to attend his grandmother’s funeral. I said that I understood but that it was the prosecutor’s decision. He said, “of course, of course.”

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