washingtonpost.com  > Nation > National Security > Homeland
Page 3 of 3  < Back  

Detainee Hearings Bring New Details and Disputes

Hoffer said her clients have never been questioned about the alleged bombing plot, despite nearly three years of captivity.

Dizdarevic wonders when her husband will meet the U.S. standard for release. The members of al Hajj's panel, citing classified evidence to continue holding him, said, however, that another review board should consider his exoneration before a Bosnian court the next time his case is reviewed, next year.

Feroz Abbasi admitted that he traveled from London to Afghanistan "to take action against Americans and Jews." A tribunal reviewing his case reported that he said he was not disturbed about being called an enemy combatant. (AP)

"After three years of fight, without any reason, they declare that my husband is an enemy combatant, a man that was so good that he would never in his life wish anyone any harm," she wrote. "What am I supposed to tell my children, who at every phone ring, every door bell, ask 'Is this our father?' "

Pentagon officials declined to comment on specific cases.

Allegations of Abuse

Detainee lawyers also say that captives are subjected to abuse designed to aid U.S. interrogators. This includes extremes of heat and cold, extended periods in painful positions, blaring music and strobe lights for hours at a time. The lawyers say some detainees have made false statements to halt the mistreatment.

In July, the International Committee of the Red Cross formally told Guantanamo Bay authorities that these and other tactics were tantamount to torture. Last week, a Justice Department lawyer told one of the judges hearing the cases that it would not be illegal to torture detainees to obtain statements about them.

Australian David Hicks, 29, a Muslim convert who is charged with training in an al Qaeda camp and defending a Taliban tank after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, told his military lawyer in an August affidavit about an atmosphere at Guantanamo Bay in which abuse was often part of the interrogation process. He said that his head was rammed into the asphalt several times, that he was hit with a rifle butt, and that he and other detainees routinely witnessed abuse or heard the cries of their fellow captives.

Mubanga, a British citizen, was accused of being a member of al Qaeda who traveled to Pakistan to fight U.S. forces and was studying ways of attacking 33 Jewish organizations in New York. He told the tribunal that the allegations were false and that he confessed to some of his interrogators' accusations under duress and physical abuse.

"I see now that the duress and mistreatment that I am incurring shall not stop until they [the American government] get the result they want," Mubanga told the tribunal, according to the transcript.

Mubanga said he was fighting in Pakistan to help Muslims reclaim disputed Kashmiri territory from India, and fled to an uncle's home in Zambia when U.S. bombs began dropping in Afghanistan. He told the tribunal that his relatives and passport documents could prove his innocence.

The tribunal ruled that some of the records and witnesses he requested were "not reasonably available" or were irrelevant to the question of whether Mubanga was an al Qaeda member. But in a rare admonishment, a military legal adviser later told the panel it had erroneously rejected that evidence. The tribunal is preparing for another review of Mubanga's case.

< Back  1 2 3

© 2004 The Washington Post Company