DOJ rejects allegations Guantanamo 'enemy combatant' rulings pressured

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] Friday rejected allegations made by a US Army officer previously involved in Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) [DOD materials] proceedings at Guantanamo Bay that the CSRTs were pressured to declare detainees "enemy combatants" [JURIST report] based on vague or incomplete evidence. The Department said in a court filing [PDF text] that a sworn statement made by Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham "addresses the conduct of CSRT proceedings in only a handful of unnamed cases" and is therefore not relevant to detainee cases before the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOJ characterized Abraham's declaration as "innuendo," and defended the additional review of tribunal determinations by the CSRT Director as being "critical to national security." Responding to Abraham's criticism that US intelligence agencies often arbitrarily withheld information from both the prosecution and defense, government lawyers said saying that "nothing in the CSRT procedures remotely requires the Recorder to conduct a de novo search for the information held by other agencies or double-check the work performed by other agencies in responding to requests for relevant information."

Abraham, a 26-year veteran of military intelligence and formerly a liaison officer between the CSRT and the intelligence agencies, made the allegations in a June affidavit [PDF text] on behalf of Fawzi al-Odah [Amnesty International profile], a Kuwaiti detainee who is currently challenging his status as an "enemy combatant." AP has more.

 

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