US military violated CSRT rules on exculpatory evidence: CCR

[JURIST] Lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a petition [press release] Wednesday under the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) [text] challenging the enemy combatant designation of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed Sulaymon Barre, saying the US military violated governing rules of Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) [DOD materials] by failing to present exculpatory evidence during Barre's CSRT review. The petition, which also accuses US personnel at the Bagram Air Force Base [official website] in Afghanistan of abuse, demands that the US government "provide access to critical information and allow CCR attorneys to visit their client," who obtained refugee status from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] prior to his arrest by Pakistani officials on November 1, 2001. According to CCR, Barre worked for an international money transfer company and was detained because "his work phone number appeared on a list of calls made by members of a suspected charitable organization." CCR also says that the UNHCR did not learn that Barre was held in detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] until December 2006.

The CCR petition, filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website], relies on the statements of two US military officers involved in the CSRT process. In June, Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a former liaison officer between the CSRT and intelligence agencies, submitted an affidavit saying that the CSRTs were pressured to declare detainees "enemy combatants" [affidavit, PDF; JURIST report] based on vague or incomplete evidence. The Pentagon has denied the allegations [JURIST report]. In July, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that detainees challenging their designation as enemy combatants [JURIST news archive] are entitled a full review of all evidence [JURIST report], rejecting the Bush administration's argument that the Pentagon should be able to select which evidence is presented to the court and may choose to leave out potentially exculpatory evidence. AP has more.



 

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