Captive Arraigned, Says He Was Abused

March 14th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Captive Arraigned, Says He Was Abused

Miami Herald
March 14, 2008 Allegations of military abuse increasingly took center stage as the Guantánamo military commissions edged toward full-blown trials.
By Carol Rosenberg
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- In another war court case clouded by allegations of military abuse, a Saudi captive who swears he was brutalized by Army interrogators in Afghanistan was arraigned Thursday by a judge who presided over the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse prosecution.
Also Thursday, a Navy defense lawyer accused a senior Army officer -- identified only as ''Lt. Col. W'' -- of altering evidence in the case of Canadian captive Omar Khadr, accused of murder in a battlefield grenade attack.
The back-to-back developments illustrate how allegations of military abuse have emerged as a persistent defense theme in the joint Pentagon and Justice Department effort to stage the first U.S. war crimes tribunals since World War II.
In Washington, the American Civil Liberties Union sued for public release of other detainees' now-censored description of alleged torture in CIA custody.
''The whole system was set up to use torture evidence, but keep the evidence of the torture out,'' said veteran Guantánamo observer Jumana Musa, an Amnesty International attorney.
``So any defense lawyer worth his salt is going to raise that in the course of the proceedings.''
At the war court, reporters got their first glimpse of Ahmed Darbi, 33, who was formally charged as an alleged al Qaeda co-conspirator in an ill-fated plot to blow up a boat in the Strait of Hormuz.
He was wearing the white prison camp uniform of a cooperative detainee and was led into the court unshackled and agreed to work with his Pentagon appointed lawyer.
His lawyer, Army Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, said the man has sworn in a military court deposition that he was hung by his arms at the U.S. prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, and repeatedly beaten by military intelligence guards..
Such testimony, if it makes it to court, will be familiar territory to Darbi's judge, Army Col. James Pohl, who presided over the 2004 and 2005 courts martial of several guards in the Abu Ghraib, Iraq, prisoner abuse scandal.
Thursday, Pohl instructed Pentagon prosecutors to make sure that Broyles got to work with Darbi on the defense. Meanwhile, another commissions judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback, also issued a series of orders to help defense attorneys in the Khadr case, which is slated for trial on May 5.
He ordered the Pentagon to go back and sift through U.S. State Department communications to let Khadr's lawyers see if anything might help the Canadian's defense.
Khadr was captured at age 15 in a July 2002 firefight in eastern Afghanistan. He allegedly threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier. But Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler told the judge that documents uncovered through the process had revealed two versions of the grenade episode written two months apart: The first said the grenade-thrower had been killed on the spot.
The second said the grenade thrower had survived, which directly implicated Khadr.
Based on the rewrite, Kuebler said, it appeared that ``the government manufactured evidence to make it look like Omar was guilty.''
Army Col. Bruce Pagel, a deputy prosecutor, flatly denied that the military manufactured the evidence.

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