US military judge excludes confession of Guantanamo detainee from trial

[JURIST] A US military judge ruled Tuesday that a confession given by Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammed Jawad [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] to Afghan officials following his capture in 2002 was obtained using torture and is therefore inadmissible at his upcoming military commission [JURIST news archive] trial. Army Col. Stephen Henley found that Afghan officials threatened to kill Jawad and his family unless he admitted to throwing a grenade that injured three US soldiers in Kabul in 2002. Henley ruled that obtaining a confession using threat of death amounted to torture, and that under Guantanamo trial rules his confession is therefore inadmissible. Reuters has more.

Jawad, who was transferred into US custody after the confession to the Afghanistan government, was designated an "enemy combatant" in 2004. He was later charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] with attempted murder and intentionally causing serious bodily injury for his role in the attack, which injured two US soldiers and an Afghan translator. The case against him faces growing problems. Last month, former military commissions chief prosecutor Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld resigned [JURIST report], citing "ethical qualms" with the military commissions' defense counsel discovery procedures. In May, Jawad moved [JURIST report] to have all charges against him dismissed, alleging that he has been tortured in US custody and subjected to the so-called "frequent-flier program," in which certain inmates are moved between cells at two to four hour intervals in an attempt to cause physical stress through sleep deprivation. Jawad, the fourth Guantanamo detainee to be formally charged with war crimes under the 2006 Military Commissions Act [text, PDF], is set to face military commission on January 5, 2009.



 

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