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Military commissions overseer says torture tactics used in Guantanamo interrogation

[JURIST] The convening authority of military commissions Susan Crawford [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive] has said that torture tactics were used [article text] in the interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani [JURIST news archive], a suspect held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] under allegations of connections to the 9/11 attacks, according to a Wednesday interview in the Washington Post. Crawford made the statement after nearly two years of reviewing Guantanamo Bay practices as well as the strength of legal cases against detainees. Crawford further expanded on the torture claim, admitting that the US military engaged in such practices as, "sleep deprivation, sustained isolation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold that 'left him in a life-threatening condition.'" As the official responsible for pursuing any criminal charges against al-Qahtani, Crawford has said that she would not allow for the prosecution of al-Qahtani precisely because he was tortured.

Controversial practices and policies at Guantanamo Bay have kept the military prison in the news throughout the course of the Bush administration. Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama said Monday that he plans to issue an executive order [JURIST report] during his first week in office closing the facility. The chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee [official website] on Tuesday published a report [text, PDF] urging Obama to open a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the alleged abuses that have occurred at Guantanamo Bay throughout the Bush administration.

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