Oct 282012

US seeks to bar testimony on torture in military trial of alleged 9/11 plotters
By Don Knowland

October 26, 2012

Pretrial arguments began last week and continued Wednesday in the military commission trial in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba of the alleged 9/11 plotters over the US government’s attempt to suppress any testimony by the defendants on their torture at the hands of the CIA.

The five defendants, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, are charged with war crimes. Prosecutors are asking for the death penalty.

In April, the prosecution filed a motion for a “protective order.” In that motion and a subsequent court filing, the government asked the presiding military judge to exclude from evidence as presumptively “classified” any and all statements by the defendants about their detention and abuse in CIA custody. The request extends to their treatment and conditions since they were transferred to Guantánamo.

The government’s rationale is that because the defendants were “detained and interrogated in the CIA program” of secret detention, torture and abuse, they were “exposed to classified sources, methods, and activities” and therefore must be gagged to avoid revealing what the government did to them.

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