Hamdan interrogation video shown after FBI agent testifies detainees not told of rights

[JURIST] Guantanamo detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] walked out of the courtroom [Miami Herald report] at his military commission trial on Wednesday, refusing to watch a video depicting one of his interrogation sessions. Hamdan's lawyers had sought to have his interrogations excluded from evidence, arguing that they violated his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution [text], but presiding judge Navy Capt. Keith Allred ruled [PDF text; JURIST report] that, as a so-called "enemy combatant," Hamdan is not entitled to Fifth Amendment protections. On Tuesday, FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan [New Yorker discussion] had testified that Guantanamo detainees are not advised of their legal rights [AP report] before interrogations. Soufan said that interrogators were told they could forgo reading suspects their rights because Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] activities do not involve law enforcement. He added that he had always informed suspects of their rights before performing interrogations elsewhere in the world.

Hamdan has been in US custody since 2001 when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of working as Osama Bin Laden's driver. Last week, Allred denied [JURIST report] Hamdan's motion to dismiss the charges against him, holding that the military commission assigned to his trial had jurisdiction to hear the case. Hamdan pleaded not guilty to charges [charge sheet] of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorism at the beginning of the trial Monday. He is the first so-called "enemy combatant" to be tried by a military commission at Guantanamo. In 2006 he successfully challenged US President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the commission system as initially constituted violated US and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [DOD materials], which established the current military commissions system. In April, Hamdan announced that he planned to boycott his military commission trial, and in May a military judge delayed the trial [JURIST reports] until this month.

 

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