Published on
Common Dreams

Death Penalty Lurks, But Gitmo Detainees Still Barred from Speaking of Their Torture, Mistreatment

'You can't gag somebody and then kill them.'

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Lawyers for five Guantanamo Bay detainees demanded Tuesday that the Guantanamo War Crimes Tribunal lift the gag order that prohibits their clients from speaking about the torture and systematic mistreatment they faced after coming into custody of the U.S. government and during their incarceration at the offshore prison.

The lawyers also called for their clients' death penalty charges—on accusations they were involved with the 9/11 attacks—to be dropped because of the torture and silencing they have faced.

"If the United States government wants to prevent these men from talking about the horrific things that happened to them, you can't have it both ways," declared defense attorney Cheryl Bormann, who represents Yemeni inmate Walid bin Attash, at Tuesday's pre-trial hearing. "You can't gag somebody and then kill them."


Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

Al Jazeera reports that the five defendants charge they have faced "beatings, sleep deprivation, being subjected to temperature extremes, stress positions and waterboarding – a technique that simulates drowning."

The gag order, imposed by Army Col. Judge James Pohl in January, violates the United Nation Convention Against Torture by prohibiting their clients from making a complaint, the attorneys argue. It also makes it impossible for them to adequately represent their clients, they say.

The five men face the death penalty if convicted.


Our pandemic coverage is free to all. As is all of our reporting.

No paywalls. No advertising. No corporate sponsors. Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, traffic to the Common Dreams website has gone through the roof— at times overwhelming and crashing our servers. Common Dreams is a news outlet for everyone and that’s why we have never made our readers pay for the news and never will. But if you can, please support our essential reporting today. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article