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Tortured Logic: Jawad and Ghailani Cases Challenge US Torture Under Rule Of Law

Muhammed Jawad’s legal battles have stretched on for the last 7 years. For a boy who may have been as young as 12 when he was picked up on an Afghan battlefield, that must feel like an eternity in custody.

He has grown up at Gitmo.

ACLU had another day in court yesterday in the Jawad case, this time arguing that evidence in the case which was coerced through torture and other impermissible means cannot be used to continue to detain him.

The judge in Jawad’s military commission proceedings previously suppressed statements made by Jawad to Afghan and U.S. officials following his arrest, finding that they were the product of torture. However, the government continues to rely on those same statements in Jawad’s habeas corpus challenge.

"Since his arrest in 2002, Mr. Jawad has been subjected to repeated torture and other mistreatment and to a systematic program of harsh and highly coercive interrogations designed to break him physically and mentally," said Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "The statements wrung from Mr. Jawad in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo during more than 50 interrogations do not remotely meet the standard for admissibility in a court of law."

Lest you think this is simply hyperbole, the ACLU has described what happened with Jawad from the moment of his capture forward — and remember he was a young boy at the time that all of this occurred.

The YouTube above is more detail from ACLU, along with this:

Following his arrest for allegedly throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers, Jawad was taken to an Afghan police station where he was coerced into signing a confession written in Farsi, a language Jawad could not speak, much less read or write. In fact, Jawad was functionally illiterate even in his native language of Pashto.

Once transferred to U.S. custody, Jawad was illegally rendered to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was interrogated at least 11 times and subjected to beatings, forced into painful "stress positions," deprived of sleep, forcibly hooded, placed in isolation, pushed down stairs, chained to a wall for prolonged periods and subjected to threats of death. The U.S. later transported Jawad to Guantánamo, where he was subjected to the notorious "frequent flyer" sleep deprivation program as well as the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) interrogation methods recently denounced in a Senate Armed Services Committee Report. Eventually, Jawad tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his head repeatedly against the wall….

We’re still holding him at Gitmo.

The Ghailani case presents an interesting twist — he was indicted years ago in a NY federal court for involvement in embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. But instead of being tried in federal court, the Bush Administration set him up with a military tribunal. The Obama Administration has reverted his trial to federal court, where the legal path for him first began.

And now Ghailani’s counsel are challenging some aspects of his treatment while at possible CIA "black sites" after his capture, asking for preservation of evidence so that they can have experts examine it.

Just a couple more reasons that the ACLU Accountability Project is necessary.  Because there are still so many open questions about what was done in all of our names.  More accountability, please.

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Jawad, Ghailani Cases Challenge US Torture Under Rule of Law

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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