ACLU protests censorship of Guantanamo detainee testimony

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] sought to prohibit government censorship of prisoners' testimony about alleged torture and abuse at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] in a motion [text, PDF] filed Friday in military commission proceedings against five "high value detainees" [JURIST news archive] accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. The motion says observers at the proceedings watch on a closed-circuit video monitor with a 20-second delay, allowing officials to cut the feed when it appears a defendant is discussing the conditions of their detention. In the motion, the ACLU requests that:

(1) in all future proceedings, the government not be permitted to exclude trial observers from hearing those portions of proceedings in which the defendants relate their allegations of abuse in U.S. custody; and (2) with respect to all prior proceedings, this Military Commission order the release of unredacted transcripts that include those portions in which the audio was turned off.
"There is absolutely no justification for the suppression of detainees' allegations of torture and abuse," said [press release] Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project.

In October, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment [JURIST report] for the Department of Defense, holding that unredacted transcripts allegedly containing evidence of torture used against the high-value detainees held at Guantanamo Bay could be withheld from the ACLU. Aides to President-elect Barack Obama have said the incoming president will likely not prosecute [JURIST report] Americans who approved or actually carried out the torture or other harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.

 

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