10 January 2011 - A new lawsuit seeks to force the U.S. government to make public “extremely disturbing” videotapes of a Saudi national whose abuse at the Guantanamo Bay prison has been called “torture” by a former Bush administration official.
The suit, filed in New York federal court on Monday, comes 10 years after the first prisoners in the United States’ global war on terror arrived at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. The prison, within a U.S. Navy base, was considered by Bush administration lawyers outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
The controversial prison was ordered closed within a year by President Barack Obama when he took office, but stiff resistance in Congress over housing detainees in the United States and trying them in civilian courts have left most of 171 detainees in limbo as the base remains open.
The case of Qahtani first came to light in 2005 when Time magazine published secret log files from Guantanamo that detailed harsh interrogation techniques on the Saudi suspect.
In February 2008, he was charged with war crimes and murder, but on May 11 of that same year those charges were dropped. The reasons at the time were not made public.
In 2009, a Bush administration official revealed the reason to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post:
"We tortured Qahtani," Susan J. Crawford said. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution. read more>>>
January 9 2011 - A lawsuit filed Monday seeks to force the U.S. government to make public the videotapes of harsh interrogation carried out on a Saudi citizen who authorities once said was supposed to have been the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights said the videos have been seen by attorneys for Mohammed al-Qahtani but cannot be shown to the public because they are classified. He remains at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
They noted that al-Qahtani’s treatment since he was seized in December 2001 and later transferred to Guantanamo has drawn the attention of the public, Congress and internal agency investigations.
“The American public should now be permitted to see what occurred for itself,” the lawsuit said. “Releasing the videotapes and photographs of Mr. al-Qahtani’s interrogations will serve the public interest, by providing the American public with unique documentation of the systematic abuses at Guantanamo.” read more>>>