The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brenda Bowser Soder,,O -202/370-3323, C - 301/906-4460

Federal Judge Issues Witness Ruling in Ghailani Trial


Today, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan's barred the testimony of a
government witness whose identity was obtained through torture in the
case of Ahmed Ghailani. Human Rights First's Daphne Eviatar, who was at
the court and is monitoring the trial, issued the following statement:

"Judge Lewis today upheld a longstanding principle of the rule of
law, barring testimony derived from the torture of the defendant. The
issue here is not that the testimony has been barred, but that the
defendant was tortured. The fact that Judge Lewis recognizes that
evidence derived through torture is inadmissible only strengthens the
view that civilian federal courts, not military commissions, can best
handle difficult terrorism cases. Just yesterday, a federal court
sentenced the Times Square bomber to life in prison. Let's be clear -
the barred testimony in the Ghailani case is not the only evidence that
the government will present in this case. The government convicted four
of Ghailani's alleged co-conspirators in the same federal court,
without the testimony of this particular witness. Judge Lewis' decision
is significant, though, because it clearly signals that the court will
not countenance evidence derived from torture."

Ghailani is accused of assisting the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies
in East Africa that killed 224 people and wounded hundreds more. He is
the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian U.S.
federal court.

To speak with Daphne Eviatar about today's proceedings and the
Ghailani case, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at 202-370-3323 or

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.