Binyam Mohamed lawyer says torture details withheld from Obama

[JURIST] Information redacted from a British High Court decision [text, PDF; JURIST report] released last week has been withheld from US President Barack Obama [official website] and may hold key information about British involvement in the alleged torture of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Binyam Mohamed [Reprieve profile, JURIST news archive], according to a letter [text, PDF] sent by Mohamed's lawyer to Obama. The letter, sent Monday by Reprieve [advocacy website] director Clive Stafford Smith [Reprieve profile], was accompanied by an attachment purporting to demonstrate the extent to which the information presented to Obama by the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] has been censored. According to Smith, the censored information would reveal the "truly medieval ways" in which Mohamed was tortured and reflect "specific admissions by his abusers." Smith urged Obama to order the DOD to disclose the evidence, which may have been withheld in order to protect the president politically [Guardian report]. On Tuesday, the two British judges who authored last week's decision agreed to reopen the case after Mohamed's lawyers challenged the order that the torture evidence remain classified. UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband [official profile], who has denied claims [JURIST report] that US pressure led to the censoring of released information in Mohamed's case, confirmed Wednesday that British diplomats have been given permission to visit him in Guantanamo. The delegation, to be accompanied by a British police doctor, is to prepare for Mohamed's return to Britain pending review by the Obama administration.

At issue in Mohamad's case were several paragraphs describing the conditions and circumstances of his imprisonment, redacted from the High Court's judgment in its August 2008 ruling [JURIST report] that the UK Foreign Office must turn over evidence essential to Mohamed's defense. Mohamed asserts that after he was arrested in Pakistan and turned over to US officials, he was then transferred to Moroccan agents who tortured him. He was later transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2004. In December, he asked the UK government [letter, DOC; JURIST report] to ensure that photographic evidence of his alleged torture be preserved.

 

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