The three prisoners’ lawyers also told the judge that in 2020 the court’s official Indonesian translator believed that “the government is wasting money on these terrorists; they should have been killed long ago, ”adding that they had an affidavit from a witness who heard the comment. The public prosecutor’s office demands life imprisonment in the case.

Mr. Bin Lep’s attorney, Brian Bouffard, declared the Indonesian-American contract translator to be “irretrievably biased.” Mr. Bin Amin’s attorney, Christine Funk, asked why the prosecutors even needed an interpreter when bringing charges: “Are you spying on us? I do not know.”

The Trial Judge, Navy Cmdr. Hayes C. Larsen, tried to fix the problems. He gave the court’s official translation team a 10-minute break every 20 minutes. He urged defense attorneys to file legal motions if they believed there were problems of interpretation that required remedial action. And he postponed the reading of the charges until Tuesday, which was the reason for the hearing on Monday.

Both civilian and military defense attorneys, all paid by the Pentagon, said the case was still in its infancy. Prosecutors, they said, provided perhaps 2 percent of the pre-trial documents that could be used in the case, including reports of interrogations the FBI conducted with the detainees in 2007 shortly after they were transferred to military custody by the CIA was.

Mr. Hambali’s attorney, James R. Hodes, described the case as “absurd,” in part because of his client’s long prison term and nearly two decades late in bringing charges against him. He told reporters before the hearing that Mr. Hambali had been “brutalized” and had spent at least half of his detention in solitary confinement. He said the prisoner was due “an apology” and repatriation “to avoid being held in a cage on a Caribbean island.”

The hearings in Guantánamo took place mainly between English and Arabic, but also had translation problems. In 2015, one of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks blurted out in court by the name of a translator – revealing that the linguist had previously worked for the CIA in a black place, his identity and derailed a week of hearings.