Guantánamo Defense Lawyers: Statements Obtained by Torture Should Be Barred

Lawyers for Guantánamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan on Friday asked a military tribunal to bar the use of statements made by Hamdan that were allegedly obtained through the use of torture and requested that the court declare that Hamdan has been subjected to abusive interrogation techniques. Hamdan contends that he was subjected to prolonged periods of isolation and beatings at the hands of U.S. interrogators and that any statements he has made while in custody are unreliable. The motion argues that the use of these statements would violate the U.S. Constitution, international law and the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which allows evidence obtained through coercion to be introduced if it is reliable, but excludes the use of statements obtained through torture. A spokesman for the Pentagon denied the allegations and said that detainees are treated humanely.

Hamdan has been in U.S. custody since 2001 when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of working as Osama Bin Laden's driver. In 2006 he successfully challenged President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled that the commission system as initially constituted violated U.S. and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, but Hamdan and a number of other Guantánamo detainees have argued that the current law still violates their rights. Last month, a military judge affirmed a prior ruling that Hamdan's lawyers may send written questions to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other alleged high-level al Qaeda detainees to facilitate the discovery of evidence on the issue of whether Hamdan was an al Qaeda agent who conspired in the USS Cole or September 11 attacks. The New York Times has more.

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