Thursday, October 7, 2010

Torture evidence in 31 habeas cases

A detailed analysis of how judges have weighed torture evidence in 31 habeas cases of Guantanamo detainees. CLICK here

See list of missing CIA prisoners on the sidebar here

Here’s an excerpt about Binyam Mohamed’s torture producing tainted evidence that the government tried to use against another prisoner:

Last year, Justice Department lawyers tried to show that Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed [5] was an al-Qaida fighter by using statements from another detainee, Binyam Mohamed, whose "harrowing" interrogation ordeal was described in an 81-page opinion by Senior Judge Gladys Kessler. For two years, beginning with his capture in April 2002, foreign interrogators holding him "at the behest of the United States" beat and kicked him, chained him to a wall, kept him half-standing for long stretches and cut him with a blade, including on his genitals. He was "fed information" and "told to verify it." During that time, he was also interrogated by the FBI and CIA.

The government's lawyers didn't contest the allegations of mistreatment but instead argued that the treatment of the informant didn't undermine the evidence he gave later. They submitted statements he'd made after being transferred to Guantánamo, where a U.S. interviewer "developed a relationship with him that was non-abusive and, in fact, cordial and cooperative."

But Kessler didn't buy that better treatment had done the trick. Given that, "throughout his detention, a constant barrage of physical and psychological abuse was employed in order to manipulate him and program him into telling investigators what they wanted to hear," she wrote, it was "more than plausible" that he had also manufactured details in nonabusive questioning.

Had Binyam Mohamed's statements been clean, Kessler suggested, they would have made all the difference in the case against the other detainee, who according to other, reliable evidence had some tie to "a terrorist pipeline." Instead, Kessler ordered in November that Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed be released. The government is appealing her decision.

Binyam Mohamed, the informant whose torture Kessler described so vividly, had already been released. He's now free in Britain, where he has mounted a public campaign to have the British officers he claims were complicit in his torture held accountable.

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