This video says about itself:
Adel Hamad, husband and father, aid worker and teacher, has been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2003.
From Associated Press:
Judge tosses detainee confession citing torture
By DAVID McFADDEN
October 28, 2008
A U.S. military judge barred the Pentagon Tuesday from using a Guantanamo prisoner’s confession to Afghan authorities as trial evidence, saying it was obtained through torture.
Army Col. Stephen Henley said Mohammed Jawad‘s statements ‘were obtained by physical intimidation and threats of death which, under the circumstances, constitute torture.’
Jawad’s defense attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, told The Associated Press that the ruling removes ‘the lynchpin of the government’s case.’
Guantanamo’s chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said he recognized how the judge made his decision and needed to study the ruling before making more comments.
Jawad, who was still a teenager at the time, is accused of injuring two U.S. soldiers with a grenade in 2002. He allegedly said during his interrogation in Kabul that he hoped the Americans died, and would do it again.
But Henley said Jawad confessed only after police commanders and high-ranking Afghan government officials threatened to kill him and his family _ a strategy intended to inflict severe pain that constitutes torture.
‘During the interrogation, someone told the accused, ‘You will be killed if you do not confess to the grenade attack,’ and, ‘We will arrest your family and kill them if you do not confess,’ or words to that effect,’ Henley wrote in response to a defense motion to suppress the evidence. ‘It was a credible threat.’
Frakt said the ruling is a ‘further disintegration of the government’s case,’ and that the Afghans’ descriptions of Jawad’s confession were never credible to begin with. He also praised the judge for ‘adopting a traditional definition of torture rather than making one up.’
The judge said torture includes statements obtained by use of death threats to the speaker or his family, and that actual physical or mental injury is not required. ‘The relevant inquiry is whether the threat was specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon another person within the interrogator’s custody or control,’ Henley wrote.
Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, welcomed the ruling, but alleged ‘evidence obtained through torture and coercion is pervasive in military commission cases that, by design, disregard the most fundamental due process rights, and no single decision can cure that.’
Tuesday’s ruling comes a few weeks after Jawad’s former Guantanamo prosecutor, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, quit after what he described as a crisis of conscience over the ethical handling of cases at the U.S. base.
He said evidence he saw _ some of which was withheld from defense attorneys _ suggested Jawad may have been drugged before the 2002 attack.
From British daily The Guardian:
Seventeen Chinese prisoners who have been held for nearly seven years in Guantánamo Bay will be informed on Monday that they could spend the rest of their lives behind bars, even though they face no charges and have been told by a judge they should be freed.
An End In Sight For Guantanamo? Here.
Closing Guantanamo faces hurdle: Yemeni detainees
By SHASHANK BENGALI – McClatchy Newspapers
SANAA, Yemen — President-elect Barack Obama’s pledge to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces a major obstacle: Yemen.
The Bush administration has transferred hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners to the custody of their home countries, but it’s been unable to win assurances from Yemen – whose approximately 100 prisoners are the largest group still jailed at Guantanamo – that the men, if they’re returned, won’t pose a threat to the United States.
By striking similar deals with nations such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, Bush administration officials have dramatically reduced Guantanamo’s population over the past three years. Yemen, however, which has failed to stop homegrown militants from staging major attacks on American targets in the past decade, says it can’t continue to hold prisoners without charges.
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Yemeni officials say they’re ready to try many of the men and imprison those who are convicted, but they complain that U.S. officials refuse to share evidence with them.
“Based on the information we have, some of the Guantanamo prisoners have nothing to do with terrorism,” said the Yemeni foreign minister, Abu Bakr al Kirbi. “We cannot imprison them without a court sentence. We cannot do something that is against our laws. We are accountable to our own public.”
Attorneys for the prisoners said that the stalemate underscored how the Bush administration had painted itself into a corner with its efforts to transfer detainees from Guantanamo, which has become such a stain on the U.S. human-rights record that both Obama and his presidential rival, John McCain, campaigned vigorously to close it.
After jailing hundreds of men for years without charges, the attorneys said, the Bush administration began to empty the prison in 2005 by convincing other countries to adapt or suspend their own due process to continue holding many of the men indefinitely. To a great extent, the tactic worked: Guantanamo’s population is down from more than 770 to about 250 today.
Yemen, however, a rugged, deeply poor nation at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has proved a more nettlesome partner. Experts said that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was fearful of agreeing to anything that would anger Yemen’s powerful tribal leaders, on whose support much of his authority depends.
“Yemen is one of the biggest obstacles to closing the prison,” said Cori Crider, a staff lawyer at Reprieve, a London-based legal organization that represents more than 30 Guantanamo prisoners.
Obama’s advisers describe closing Guantanamo as a top priority, but experts say that resolving the remaining cases poses a host of complex legal, diplomatic and national security challenges. Obama’s transition team said last week that no decisions on the remaining prisoners, including how and where they might be tried, would be made until his national security and legal teams have been assembled.
Bush administration officials have been scrambling to empty Guantanamo of all but the highest-risk prisoners since June, when a landmark Supreme Court decision granted the detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal courts. Attorneys for dozens of Yemenis think that these “habeas corpus” hearings could set many of their clients free because U.S. officials have collected little evidence connecting them to serious crimes.
Lawyers say that the Bush administration – which maintains that all the prisoners pose some level of risk – would prefer to hand the men over to Yemen before they come up for hearings. One question for the Obama administration is whether to review all the prisoners’ cases before deciding on transfers or prosecutions.
“As habeas cases move forward, more and more people are going to be transferred,” Crider said. “Unfortunately, the Yemenis are still stuck.”
A U.S. delegation last visited Yemen for talks on the prisoners in June, and although the Yemenis reported little progress, a Bush administration official who has knowledge of the discussions said that the two sides were working on an arrangement to ensure that the detainees don’t pose threats after their transfers.
U.S. acknowledges it held 12 juveniles at Guantanamo Bay prison
Published Sunday November 16th, 2008
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. has revised its count of juveniles ever held at Guantanamo Bay to 12, up from the eight it reported in May to the United Nations, a Pentagon spokesman said Sunday.
The government has provided a corrected report to the UN committee on child rights, according to navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon. He said the U.S. did not intentionally misrepresent the number of detainees taken to the isolated base in southeast Cuba before turning 18.
“As we noted to the committee, it remains uncertain the exact age of many of the juveniles held at Guantanamo, as most of them did not know their own date of birth or even the year in which they were born,” he said.
A study released last week by the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas concluded the U.S. has held at least a dozen juveniles at Guantanamo, including a Saudi who committed suicide in 2006.
“The information I got was from their own sources, so they didn’t have to look beyond their own sources to figure this out,” said Almerindo Ojeda, director of the centre at the University of California, Davis.
Rights groups say it is important for the U.S. military to know the real age of those it detains because juveniles are entitled to special protection under international laws recognized by the United States.
Eight of the 12 juvenile detainees identified by the human rights centre have been released, according to the study.
Two of the remaining detainees are scheduled to face war-crimes trials in January.
Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, was captured in July 2002 and is charged with murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. special forces soldier. Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who is about 24, faces attempted murder charges for a 2002 grenade attack that wounded two U.S. soldiers.
The study identified the only other remaining juvenile as Muhammed Hamid al Qarani of Chad.
The Saudi who hanged himself with two other detainees in 2006, Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, was 17 when he arrived at Guantanamo within days of the military prison opening in January 2002, according to the study.
About 250 prisoners remain at Guantanamo on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.
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