For Immediate Release
Court Should Suppress Evidence Obtained Through Torture In Jawad Habeas Case, Says ACLU
Government Continues To Rely On Evidence Barred From Military Commissions Trial Of Guantánamo Detainee
NEW YORK - The
American Civil Liberties Union today asked a federal court to suppress
all evidence obtained through torture and other coercion in the habeas
corpus case challenging the unlawful detention of Guantánamo detainee
Mohammed Jawad. The judge in Jawad's military commission proceedings
previously suppressed statements made by Jawad to Afghan and U.S.
officials following his arrest, finding that they were the product of
torture. However, the government continues to rely on those same
statements in Jawad's habeas corpus challenge.
"Since his arrest in 2002, Mr. Jawad
has been subjected to repeated torture and other mistreatment and to a
systematic program of harsh and highly coercive interrogations designed
to break him physically and mentally," said Jonathan Hafetz, staff
attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "The statements wrung
from Mr. Jawad in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo during more than 50
interrogations do not remotely meet the standard for admissibility in a
court of law."
Following his arrest for allegedly
throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers, Jawad was taken to an Afghan
police station where he was coerced into signing a confession written
in Farsi, a language Jawad could not speak, much less read or write. In
fact, Jawad was functionally illiterate even in his native language of
Once transferred to U.S. custody,
Jawad was illegally rendered to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where
he was interrogated at least 11 times and subjected to beatings, forced
into painful "stress positions," deprived of sleep, forcibly hooded,
placed in isolation, pushed down stairs, chained to a wall for
prolonged periods and subjected to threats of death. The U.S. later
transported Jawad to Guantánamo, where he was subjected to the
notorious "frequent flyer" sleep deprivation program as well as the
Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) interrogation methods
recently denounced in a Senate Armed Services Committee Report.
Eventually, Jawad tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his
head repeatedly against the wall.
The Afghan government recently sent
a letter to the U.S. government demanding Jawad's return and suggesting
he was as young as 12 when he was captured in Afghanistan and illegally
rendered from that country almost seven years ago.
"That Mr. Jawad was a juvenile –
perhaps as young as 12 – when his abuse began makes the coercive nature
of his interrogations all the more barbaric and the government's
continued reliance on his statements all the more egregious," said
The ACLU today filed a brief in the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking the judge to
suppress all evidence obtained through torture and other coercion in
Jawad's habeas case.
Attorneys on Jawad's habeas case are
Hafetz, Arthur Spitzer of the ACLU of the National Capital Area and
U.S. Air Force Major David J. R. Frakt.
Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, the
former lead prosecutor in Jawad's military commission case, left the
military commissions because he did not believe he could ethically
proceed with the case. His declaration in support of the ACLU's
position is online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/
More about Jawad's case is available online at: www.aclu.org/jawad
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.