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Judge Bars ‘Coerced’ Hamdan Evidence

From an elated Associated Press:

Judge nixes some evidence in bin Laden driver case

By MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 22

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes trial since World War II barred evidence that interrogators obtained from Osama bin Laden’s driver, ruling he was subjected to “highly coercive” conditions in Afghanistan.

But Judge Keith Allred, a Navy captain, left the door open on Monday for the prosecution to use statements Salim Hamdan made at Guantanamo, despite defense claims that all his statements were tainted by alleged abuse including sleep deprivation and solitary confinement…

The judge said the prosecution cannot use a series of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of the “highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were made.”

At Bagram, the judge found Hamdan was kept in isolation 24 hours a day with his hands and feet restrained, and armed soldiers prompted him to talk by kneeing him in the back. His captors at Panshir repeatedly tied him up, put a bag over his head and knocked him the ground.

Michael Berrigan, the deputy chief defense counsel, described the ruling as a major blow to the tribunal system that allows hearsay and evidence obtained through coercion.

“It’s a very significant ruling because these prosecutions are built to make full advantage of statements obtained from detainees,” he said

In addition to the other interrogations, the judge said he would throw out statements whenever a government witness is unavailable to vouch for the questioners’ tactics. He also withheld a ruling on a key interrogation at Guantanamo in May 2003 until defense lawyers can review roughly 600 pages of confinement records provided by the government on Sunday night…

Gee, we didn’t see this coming.

The upshot is, that unless detainees are given luxury suites and total freedom of movement, nothing they confess to can be used against them.

How wonderful.

And what a great way to fight a war.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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