WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A US military judge halted the trial of five alleged 9/11 plotters at the Guantanamo Bay detention center after one of the defendants claimed he remembered seeing the court-appointed interpreter at a CIA torture site, according to an Amnesty International (AI) press release.
“Minutes after the hearing began, the military judge called a recess after one of the defendants, Yemeni national Ramzi bin al-Shibh, told the court he had previously seen a court-appointed interpreter in CIA black sites where detainees had been tortured,” according to the AI statement released on Monday.
The abrupt halt of the hearing is just the latest in a string of serious incidents, according to AI, that have marked the “inherently unfair military commission process at Guantánamo Bay.”
“If these allegations are true, then the interpreter’s presence alongside the former black site detainees is deeply unsettling. The defense teams should be able to interview him as a likely witness to torture and enforced disappearance,” Amnesty International Director of Research and Crisis Response Anne FitzGerald said, who was present in the courtroom in Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
The release of the Senate torture report in December, along with the developments during the military commission hearing, have put the US government in a paradoxical dilemma: “the courtroom at Guantánamo Bay is piling further injustice on top of impunity for torture,” FitzGerald added.
In December, the US Senate intelligence committee released a torture report that documented enhanced interrogation techniques used by CIA agents authorized by top-level US government officials in the period after September 11, 2001. Methods of interrogation described in the report include waterboarding, mock executions, prolonged sleep deprivation, threat of sexual abuse and threats against family members.
The Guantanamo prison was opened in 2002 in the wake of 9/11 terror attacks on the United States. Despite repeated pledges by US President Barack Obama to close the notorious detention facility, it is still in operation.