A military judge ordered an immediate halt Wednesday to proceedings in the Sept. 11 terrorism case because of a new Defense Department rule that requires him to relocate to the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The judge, Army Col. James Pohl, has been based in the United States, periodically traveling to Guantanamo to preside over the military commission proceedings against five prisoners charged with planning and supporting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. In December, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work directed military commission judges to move to Guantanamo at the request of a Pentagon
legal official who wanted to speed up the litigation in the three active cases. Lawyers for the five men charged with the Sept. 11 plot filed a motion Jan. 30 seeking to have the case dismissed because of the relocation order, arguing that it was an improper attempt to interfere with the death-penalty case, or what is known as “unlawful influence” under military law.