Guantánamo Judge Throws Out More Evidence Obtained Through Torture in Jawad Case
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - Less
than a month after throwing out an alleged confession obtained through
torture, a judge late Wednesday rejected more evidence gathered through
coercive interrogations in the military commission case against Afghan
national Mohammed Jawad. Army judge Col. Stephen Henley held that
evidence collected while Jawad was in U.S. custody cannot be admitted
in his trial. Previously, the government had told the judge that
Jawad's alleged confessions were the centerpiece of its case against
"For the second time in less than a
month, the judge has thrown out evidence at the heart of the
government's case against Mr. Jawad because it was obtained through
torture. All of Mr. Jawad's alleged confessions have now been
suppressed and the government is left with no case," said Hina Shamsi,
staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "If the
government continues to prosecute this case, it will only provide
further evidence that the military commissions system is a sham aimed
at obtaining convictions regardless of the facts or the law."
Jawad, now about 23, has been in
custody since he was captured at the age of 16 or 17 and is one of two
Guantánamo prisoners the United States is prosecuting for acts
allegedly committed when they were juveniles. Jawad is accused of
throwing a grenade at two U.S. service members and an Afghan
In September, Lt. Col. Darrel
Vandeveld, the lead prosecutor in Jawad's case, resigned because he did
not believe he could ethically proceed with the prosecution. Vandeveld
charged that the government's system for gathering and maintaining
evidence "deprive[s] the accused of basic due process" and that the
government may have suppressed evidence that would be helpful to the
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Scheduled for January 5, Jawad's case is set to be the final military commission trial of the Bush administration.
"It would be a tragic legacy for the
Bush administration if this case proceeds. In light of the fact that
President-elect Obama has vowed to shut down the Guantánamo system,
there is no reason this trial should go forward ten days before the new
president is sworn into office," said Shamsi. "After eight years of a
Bush administration that aggressively rejected the Constitution and the
rule of law, it is time to put these unfair and unlawful proceedings
The ACLU is currently at Guantánamo
as an independent observer and has been present at nearly every
military commission hearing since 2004.
Additional information about the ACLU's work related to the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay can be found online at: www.aclu.org/gitmo
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