For Immediate Release
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
Guantanamo Bay Prosecutor Faces Retaliation for Testimony Exposing Constitutional Violations
Military Commission Proceedings Resume Today
WASHINGTON - A former Army prosecutor
faces retaliation for testifying before Congress and a military
commission about torture and other Constitutional violations at
Guantanamo Bay. As the Guantanamo military commissions resume
proceedings today, Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld awaits a June 1
decision from a "promotion" board that may deny him an honorable
retirement after nearly 20 years of service.
When Lt. Col. Vandeveld was subpoenaed to testify before Congress regarding the Military
Commissions Act of 2009, he stated, "The military commission system
is broken beyond repair. Even good faith efforts at revision...leave in
place provisions that are illegal and unconstitutional." Instead
of confronting the hard truths of his testimony, the Army chose to
retaliate against Lt. Col. Vandeveld for his courageous stand to uphold
his oath to protect the Constitution, and resumed the commissions at
Guantanamo with minimal revisions.
In September 2008, Lt. Col. Vandeveld-a highly decorated member of
the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps who served in Bosnia,
Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan-resigned from his position as a prosecutor
at Guantanamo after concluding that he could not ethically or legally
prosecute the case of detainee Mohammed Jawad.
After his resignation, Lt. Col. Vandeveld was ordered by a
commission judge to testify as a defense witness in Jawad's case. The
Jawad case exposed many of the serious violations occurring at
Guantanamo, including abusive interrogations, evidence withheld from the
defense, judicial incompetence, and confessions coerced through
torture. Immediately following his testimony, Lt. Col. Vandeveld was
given his first negative performance review.
Now, just four months away from completing 20 years of decorated
service to our nation, the military is threatening Lt. Col. Vandeveld's
ability to retire honorably. The promotion board that will meet on June
1 has the authority to refer him to a show cause board where he would
be forced to justify his continued service in the Army.
Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, Stephen
M. Kohn, said:
"We cannot allow the Army to destroy a distinguished soldier
because he had the courage speak honestly about constitutional
violations when ordered to do so. It is time to draw our line in the
sand. All employees, whether they work for an oil company, a Wall
Street firm, or our military, must feel free to speak the truth without
fear of retaliation."
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