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US high court docket hears Guantanamo detainee’s ‘state secrets’ case

Three US Supreme Court justices query why detainee Abu Zubaydah can’t testify about alleged CIA ‘torture’.

The United States Supreme Court has begun listening to the case of a Guantanamo detainee in search of to compel two CIA contractors to testify concerning the alleged torture he was subjected to at an company “black website” in Poland.

The nation’s high court docket heard oral arguments on Wednesday within the case of Abu Zubaydah, who has been held on the notorious US-run jail camp in Cuba since 2006, with three of the 9 justices asking why he can’t communicate for himself.

“Why not make the witness accessible? What is the federal government’s objection to the witness testifying on his personal therapy and never requiring any addition from the federal government of any variety?” Justice Neil Gorsuch requested.

Zubaydah’s attorneys have filed a grievance towards Poland in Polish and European courts for its position within the harsh therapy he acquired from the CIA whereas detained within the nation.

As a part of the case, Zubaydah is in search of testimonies from James Elmer Mitchell and John Jessen, often called the architects of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation programme.

The US authorities is obstructing the request, arguing that questioning Mitchell and Jessen would reveal “state secrets and techniques”. After authorized battles within the decrease courts, the case has made it to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor echoed Gorsuch’s questions in the course of the listening to on Wednesday, they usually additionally requested why Zubaydah remained at Guantanamo.

“I don’t perceive why he’s nonetheless there,” Breyer mentioned. “We need a clear reply,” Sotomayor added.

Senate report

In a court docket submitting, Zubaydah’s attorneys mentioned the US authorities is stopping him from providing his testimony “because the sufferer of against the law usually would”.

Zubaydah, a stateless, Saudi-born Palestinian man whose formal title is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 as an “enemy combatant” with suspected hyperlinks to al-Qaeda.

His attorneys allege that he was tortured at secret CIA places often called “black websites” for years after his seize earlier than being transferred to the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the place he stays with out cost.

A 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed the tough therapy Zubaydah underwent whereas in CIA custody, together with repeated waterboarding, confinement in small areas and sleep deprivation.

The report mentioned that for months he was subjected to enhanced interrogation strategies that rights advocates describe as torture on a “close to 24-hour-per-day foundation”.

“Abu Zubaydah ceaselessly ‘cried’, ‘begged’, ‘pleaded’, and ‘whimpered’, however continued to disclaim that he had any extra info on present threats to, or operatives within the United States,” the report said.

It just isn’t clear if this therapy passed off in Poland or one other nation. The CIA has not disclosed the situation of its black websites, however the European Court of Human Rights confirmed in 2015 that Zubaydah was held in Poland between 2002 and 2003.

The US authorities has described Zubaydah in a court docket submitting as “an affiliate and longtime terrorist ally of Osama bin Laden”, however his attorneys have rejected the assertion as “categorically false”.

The 2014 Senate report mentioned “CIA data don’t help” the company’s claims that Zubaydah was one of many planners of the 9/11 assaults.

Zubaydah is certainly one of 39 detainees who stay at Guantanamo, which has housed almost 800 detainees linked to the US’s so-called “War on Terror” since 2002. Most have been held with out formal costs.

Rights teams proceed to name for the closure of the army jail, saying the detainees’ human rights and due course of have been violated.

Today the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether or not torture survivor Abu Zubaydah can get testimony from CIA torture architects about his brutal therapy at CIA black websites.

The authorities claims their testimony is barred as “state secrets and techniques.” That’s not true.

— ACLU (@ACLU) October 6, 2021

Earlier this 12 months, the Biden administration mentioned it launched a evaluate to shut Guantanamo.

In a petition to the Supreme Court backing Zubaydah’s place, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) urged the justices to approve the subpoenas for the previous CIA contractors, arguing that a lot details about the company’s “torture” programme is already public.

“Judges are able to overseeing discovery relating to the CIA torture program, and allowing inquiry into nonprivileged info whereas defending info deemed legitimately confidential,” the ACLU temporary mentioned.

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Al Jazeera and information companies

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