Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


'Fifty Shades' causes stir at Gitmo court

22 August 2013, 14:16

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base - A lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged in the September 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 came weeks after a US congressman returned from visiting the prison and said officials told him the book was a favourite among men in Camp Seven, the highest-security section of Guantanamo.

It was a surprising comment since the military tightly restricts what prisoners can read and the novel isn't 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 on 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 pre-trial 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 of the book during a break in a weeklong hearing on procedural motions for the five prisoners facing charges that include terrorism and murder for their alleged roles aiding and planning the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.

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

In July, Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, told The Huffington Post after a visit to Guantanamo that he was told about the popularity of "Fifty Shades" during a tour that included senior prison officials. He said it confirmed that the terrorism suspects held in secretive Camp Seven are not deeply religious Muslims as they have been portrayed.

At the time, the military refused to comment, even though the revelation seemed to contradict previous statements about allowed reading material.

Defence lawyers were sceptical, saying they had never seen the book in the prison or heard it mentioned. They said it would be out of character for their clients to read a book that has been banned in some public libraries in the United States because of the racy content.

Attorney James Harrington, who represents Ramzi bin al Shibh, another defendant in the September 11 case, said his client had also not read the book and expressed suspicions about the motivation behind the original report.

"I don't know where it's coming from," Harrington said. "It's something that clearly was planted with this congressman who comes back to Washington and makes a big deal about it, all of which is designed to paint a picture of our clients and the other detainees here which is just not accurate."

A Defence Department spokesperson, Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Todd Breasseale, declined to comment on the attorney's allegations that guards gave the book to the prisoner.

He said he didn't know how "Fifty Shades" would have made it into the camp. "I wouldn't hazard a guess."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...