US says Guantanamo Supreme Court inmate can give limited testimony
Oct. 17 (Reuters) – The administration of US President Joe Biden informed the Supreme Court that a suspected senior Al Qaeda official detained at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba could provide limited testimony about his torture at the hands of the CIA.
Earlier this month, U.S. Supreme Court justices asked why the U.S. government would not allow detainee Abu Zubaydah to testify. Read more
Zubaydah, a Palestinian captured in Pakistan in 2002 and held by the United States since then without charge, has repeatedly suffered waterboarding, a form of sham drowning widely considered torture.
In response to questions from three judges during oral argument earlier this month, Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher wrote a letter to the court on Friday advising judges that Zubaydah may provide a statement in the pending case.
“Nonetheless, the government would allow Abu Zubaydah, at his request, to send a statement which could then be forwarded to the Polish inquiry,” Fletcher wrote in the letter viewed by Reuters on Sunday.
However, he added that any information could be edited if it could “undermine the security interests of the United States.”
Poland is believed to be the location of a “black site” where the CIA used harsh interrogation techniques against Zubaydah.
Zubaydah, now 50, spent 15 years in Guantanamo and is one of the many detainees still being held there. He lost one eye and suffered 83 waterboarding in a single month while in CIA detention, according to US government documents.
He was “a longtime terrorist associate and ally of Osama bin Laden,” the leader of the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda killed by US forces in Pakistan in 2011, according to a Justice Department file.
Fletcher said in his letter that Zubaydah’s testimony would not resolve the dispute currently before the judges over the scope of the “state secrets” privilege, a legal doctrine available to the government to protect information which it claims. him, could threaten national security.
Report by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.