Guantanamo Bay prisoner Ammar al-Baluchi says his guards are messing with him. Al-Baluchi, who was allegedly involved in the 9/11 attacks, has been attending pretrial hearings this week, during which his lawyer has claimed that guards gave him a copy of E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey on a break as a "practical joke" — or even some "sort of disinformation campaign."
This report comes after Rep. Jim Moran told The Huffington Post in July that many Guantanamo detainees have been reading Fifty Shades. In general, the reading material of Gitmo prisoners has been of acute interest as of late. Earlier this month, John Grisham railed in The New York Times against the "injustice" of prisoners there being unable to read his books. That was followed by a controversy over Stephen King's It, which was finally allowed into the Gitmo library.
Will Manning get copies of "50 Shades of Grey" like his pals at Gitmo?— Jacob Perry (@jacobperry) August 22, 2013
Al-Baluchi's lawyer, James Connell, claims al-Baluchi said "'No, thank you.' He does not want the book." Connell says he will not file a complaint, but that if this is the guards idea of a joke "it has gone too far."
In general, lawyers for the detainees have denied the presence of Fifty Shades in the prison, despite Moran's assertions. James Harrington, an attorney for Ramzi bin al Shibh (also being tried for involvement in 9/11), told the Associated Press:
I don't know where it's coming from. 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.
Harrington and others say reading a racy novel like Fifty Shades would be out of character for their deeply religious clients. A Defense Department official would not "hazard a guess" as to how the book ended up in the prison.
Photo of man purported to be Ammar al-Baluchi via AP.